Iran successfully test launches satellite-carrying space vehicle

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Iran successfully test launches satellite-carrying space vehicle

Iran, in the past, has successfully launched several dummy satellites.

Iran says it has successfully tested the Simorgh rocket, a two-stage vehicle meant to deliver small space satellites into orbit.

Simorgh rocket is launched and tested at the Imam Khomeini Space Centre, Iran, in this handout photo released by Tasnim News Agency on July 27, 2017.

The rocket, called the Simorgh, or 'phoenix, ' marks a key step forward in Iran's space program, which as always been suspected of covering research and development of advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.

The country has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit over the past decade, and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. The rocket was first tested in April 2016, Russian and U.S. officials reported at the time. "Progress in Iran's space programme could shorten the pathway to an ICBM, as space-launch vehicles use similar technologies, with the exception of their payloads", he added.

Such tests are allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran struck with world powers.

Iranian state media carried the announcement early Thursday.

"Much like its nuclear program, it is highly likely that Iran's space program also serves as a cover for the development of an illicit intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program", Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon. "Iran will not stop the missile projects".

The launch does not violate the terms of Iran's deal with the United States and other Western nations to curb its nuclear program, though news Iran has made progress on developing long-range missiles has drawn rebukes from the global community and, if continued, could constitute a violation of the agreement.

"I think what's important is that the agreement continues to be implemented and all the sides make constructive efforts to resolve whatever issues that still exist, and to completely and comprehensively implement the agreement", Mr. Liu told reporters at United Nations headquarters in NY.

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