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Iran starts countdown for satellite launch 'within hours'

Filed on February 9, 2020
Iran, satellite, Qassem Soleimani, US, Iraq

(AFP file photo)

Once the satellite is in orbit, the first picture that it will transmit will be of Soleimani.

Iran started counting down on Sunday to the launch of a new scientific observation satellite scheduled within hours, the country's telecommunications minister said.

"The Zafar satellite will be placed in orbit today from Semnan at a speed of 7,400 kilometers," Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said, according to the official IRIB news agency.

The United States says it is concerned that long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads.

Tensions, already high over the nuclear issue, reached the highest level in decades between Iran and the United States after Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. Iran retaliated with a missile attack against a US base in Iraq.

Once the satellite is in orbit, the first picture that it will transmit will be of Soleimani, minister Azari Jahromi said.

Iran carried out at least two failed satellite launches last year.

Iran launched its first satellite Omid (Hope) in 2009 and the Rasad (Observation) satellite was sent into orbit in June 2011. Tehran said in 2012 that it had successfully put its third domestically-made satellite Navid (Promise) into orbit.


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