DUBAI: Iran successfully launched its Sorayya satellite into orbit on Saturday, Iranian state media reported on Saturday, in a move that could heighten Western concerns about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
The satellite, which is being developed by the research arm of Iran's civilian space agency, was placed in a 750 km (466 mile) orbit, the highest successfully achieved by Iran, reports said.
The 50 kg (110 lb) satellite was launched by a Qaem 100, a three-stage solid-propellant rocket made by the military's elite Revolutionary Guard, they said.
China says it has successfully launched a satellite
The U.S. military says the long-range ballistic technology used to send satellites into orbit could also allow Tehran to launch longer-range weapons, possibly including nuclear warheads.
Tehran denies US claims that such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development and says it has never pursued nuclear weapons development.
Iran, which has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East, has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent years due to technical problems.
In October, the United States took steps to signal that Iran's missile program would remain limited after UN Security Council sanctions expire, and to limit Iranian drone transfers to Russia.
Washington previously imposed sanctions on Iran's civilian space agency and two research organizations in 2019, saying they were used to advance Tehran's ballistic missile program.
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