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Iran launches research satellite into space

Tehran has launched a satellite-carrying rocket into space with three devices onboard. The move, which comes amid ongoing talks, is expected to anger Washington.

This image taken from footage aired by Iranian state television shows a rocket that Iran announced it launched on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021

Iran said it has successfully launched a satellite-carrying rocket bearing three devices for the first time

Iran launched a satellite-carrying rocket into space on Thursday, local media have reported.

Previous rocket launches, including several failed attempts, have drawn heavy criticism from the US.

"The satellite-carrying Simorgh rocket successfully launched three devices into space," Defense Ministry spokesperson Ahmad Hosseini told state television.

"For the first time, three devices were launched simultaneously to a distance of 470 kilometers (292 miles) at a speed of 7,350 meters per second," Hosseini added.

While the successful launch by the Islamic Republic's civilian space program was confirmed by Iran's defense ministry, it remained unclear if the rocket had reached orbit.

Iran's highly influential and powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard carried out a successful satellite launch into orbit last year as part of their parallel space program.

Iran's satellite launch and nuclear talks in Vienna

Thursday's attempt comes during ongoing talks in Vienna over the possibility of reinvigorating the Iran nuclear deal.

The decision to conduct the launch in the middle of already difficult negotiations is typical of the hardline government in Tehran.

President Ebrahim Raisi, who replaced the more moderate Hassan Rouhani at the beginning of 2021, is seen as closer to Ayatollah Ali Khamanei and more distrustful of the US and other western powers.

Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna: Adnan Tabatabai speaks to DW

The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was first signed in 2015 by Iran and the US, as well as the EU, China and Russia.

According to the agreement, Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions.

Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the pact and reimposed harsh sanctions. Since then Iran has pushed ahead with uranium enrichment beyond the limits set in the JCPOA.

The current Biden administration is seeking to return to the deal, but efforts have so far been unfruitful, in part due to the more hardline government in Tehran which wants assurances the US will not simply abandon the deal again in a few years time.

ab/rt (Reuters, AP, AFP)