Iran launches rocket into space

Mixed signals as Iran launches rocket into space

Phillippe Naughton
Times [UK]
3 February 2010

Iran successfully launched a can of worms into space today, prompting a jubilant President Ahmadinejad to brag that the Islamic Republic would soon be sending its own astronauts to orbit Earth.

About a dozen worms joined a rat and two turtles in a research capsule aboard a Kavoshgar-3 satellite-carrying rocket launched this morning as part of an ambitious Iranian space programme that has worried Western experts who fear the same technology could be used to deliver atomic warheads.

France reacted to the rocket launch with “great concern”. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “This announcement can only reinforce the concerns of the international community as Iran in parallel develops a nuclear programme that has no identifiable civil aims.”

Paradoxically, the launch came only a few hours after Mr Ahmadinejad suggested that Iran would be willing to go back to a UN-brokered deal it rejected last year and send its low-enriched uranium for processing abroad. The proposal was given a cautious welcome in Western capitals…

…State television also carried pictures of Mr Ahmadinejad unveiling another home-built rocket dubbed the Simorgh (phoenix). The milk-bottle shaped rocket, emblazoned in blue with the words “Satellite Carrier Simorgh”, is equipped to carry a 100kg (220lb) satellite 500km (310 miles) into orbit.

At the ceremony, at which he also unveiled three home-built satellites, Mr Ahmadinejad hailed the progress Iran was making in its space programme and said that it was only through science that it could “break the global domineering system”…

The article continues at the Times.

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