Center for Launching Satellites Opens

Center for Launching Satellites OpensCenter for Launching Satellites Opens

Iran inaugurated the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan Province on Thursday, the first base in Southwest Asia for sending satellites into orbit, which has been described a "turning point" in the country's space activities.

"[It] is a large complex that includes the whole process of preparation, launch, control and guidance of [space] launch vehicles," IRIB News said.

Hossein Shahrabi, the chairman of Sairan Space Group, added that the base can meet Iran's needs in this field for the next 10 years.

Shahrabi told state TV that the space center would allow Iran to start competing with world powers for launching light-weight satellites to low-level orbits of the earth.

In its first mission, the base on Thursday successfully launched a space rocket called Simorgh, carrying the imaging satellite Tolou into space.

Simorgh is capable of placing a satellite weighing up to 250 kg in an orbit 500 kilometers above earth.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani welcomed the launch on Thursday with a message posted on his Instagram account.

"Today, space science is very important for us and the greater our scientific power is, the greater will be our sovereignty and dignity," he wrote.

***US Stance

The US reacted to the rocket launch by saying it breaches a UN Security Council resolution because of its potential use in ballistic missile development.

"We would consider that a violation of UNSC Resolution 2231," Reuters quoted US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert as saying on Thursday.

"We consider that to be continued ballistic missile development ... We believe that what happened overnight, in the early morning hours here in Washington, is inconsistent with the Security Council resolutions."

Nauert also called Iran's rocket launch a "provocative action" that violated the "spirit" of the 2015 nuclear deal.

This is while the deal between Iran and a group of six world powers, including the US, has nothing to do with Iran's space or missile programs.

Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal, only "calls upon" Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles "designed to be capable of" delivering nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies its missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads, as it has no intention to even seek nukes.


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