Iran announced that it had deployed a rocket containing a satellite carrier into space, carrying three pieces of research equipment, however, it’s uncertain whether any of the devices made it into orbit around the Earth. The state television story, as well as reports from other semiofficial news organizations, did not state when the deployment took place or what gadgets the carrier took with it. The launch, however, coincides with ongoing talks in Vienna over Iran’s shattered nuclear accord. The United States has previously chastised previous launches.

An Iranian Defense Ministry official, Ahmad Hosseini, described the rocket as a Simorgh, or “Phoenix,” rocket. He claimed the 3 devices were deployed 470 kilometers. According to Hosseini, “the space center’s performance and the satellite carrier’s performance were done properly.”

However, no one instantly stated whether or not the objects fired made it into the orbit. In recent launches, Iran’s space scheme has met a succession of setbacks. Iranian official media recently published a list of forthcoming satellite launches for Iran’s civilian space program. Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has its own satellite-launching program, which was successful last year.

Conducting a deployment during the Vienna talks suits Tehran’s hard-line stance, which has previously referred to six prior sessions of diplomacy as a “draft,” enraging Western nations. Germany’s current foreign minister has gone so far as to say that “at this point, time is running out for us.” The Associated Press saw satellite photographs earlier this month that suggested a deployment was on the way.

In recent years, Iran’s civilian space program has suffered a succession of setbacks and tragic explosions. In 2019, then-US President Trump tweeted what seemed to be a classified United States spy satellite photo of the explosion’s aftermath with the caption: “The US was not engaged in the horrific accident.”

Meanwhile, the Guard successfully launched a spacecraft into orbit in April 2020, revealing its secret space program. The US Space Command head later described the satellite as “a tumbling webcam in space” that would not give Iran with critical intelligence, even though it demonstrated Tehran’s capacity to get into orbit. Iran has launched numerous short-lived satellites into the orbit during the last decade, as well as a monkey into space in 2013.

Such satellite launches, according to the US, violate a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting Iran from engaging in any activity linked to ballistic missiles competent of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran claims that its satellite launches, as well as rocket tests, have no military component, even though it has long said that it does not desire nuclear weapons. Tehran also claims that it has not broken the UN resolution, which only “instructed” Tehran to refrain from conducting such tests.

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