Iran gearing up to launch two satellites in coming months, says minister

Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Issa Zarepour said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic is preparing to launch “at least two satellites” into space by late March. His statement has come just a month after successful test of a launcher. The United States has in past repeatedly voiced its disapproval over such plans as it feels that such launches can boost Iran’s ballistic missile technology, extending to the potential delivery of nuclear warheads.

Iran maintains that it is not seeking nuclear weapons, and says that its satellites and rocket launches are for civil or defence purposes.

“Nahid 1 and Nahid 2 satellites are being prepared,” Zarepour was quoted as saying by official news agency IRNA.

Nahid is the name given to a series of telecommunications satellites developed by the Iranian Space Research Centre. 

According to Zarepour, “We will have launches by year’s end,” March 20 in the Persian calendar.

In early November, Iranian state television announced the “successful suborbital launch of the satellite launcher named Ghaem-100”.

The Ghaem-100 rocket was manufactured by the aerospace organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and it is the country’s first three-stage solid-fuel satellite launcher, the channel added.

Iran successfully put its first military satellite into orbit in April 2020, drawing a sharp rebuke from Washington.

In August this year, another Iranian satellite, named Khayyam, was launched by Russia on a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

(With inputs from agencies)

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