02/03/2009, 00.00
IRAN
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Teheran launches its first satellite

Media underline it was built in Iran by Iranian scientists. Fears over the possibility of its use also for long range missiles.

Teheran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iranian sate television and media are reporting that yesterday evening Iran launched into orbit its first satellite. The satellite named Omid (“hope”) was launched using a Safir-2 type rocket. The launch took place only hours after celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the Khomeini revolution (1st February 1979).

The launch has been celebrated as a giant step for Iran.  The Iranian news agency enthusiastically explains that the space satellite was “entirely built in Iran” and that “every individual part of the  Safir-2 and Omid were designed and produced by Iranian scientists”.

According to IRNA, Omid “orbits the earth 15 times in 24 hours and at every orbit is controlled twice by a station from earth”.  In theory was designed for gathering information and testing equipment and was carrying experimental satellite control devices and power supply systems.

Iran has long been subjected to international sanctions because of suspicions that it is attempting to build nuclear warheads.  Tehran denies having military ambitions and defends it’s nuclear program claiming it is for civilian use.

President Ahmadinejad greeted Iran's presence in space claiming it aims to expand monotheism, peace and justice.

It is highly probable that the launch will increase the international community’s concerns, in particular Israel, that the satellite can be used to guide long range missiles, maybe even nuclear warheads.

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