Iran has launched a satellite carrier rocket bearing three research devices into space, according to state media, as difficult negotiations over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers continue in Vienna.
The reports on Thursday did not say when the launch was conducted, nor what devices the carrier brought with it. It was unclear whether any of the objects entered orbit around the Earth, reports Al Jazeera.
Previous launches have drawn rebukes from the United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions against Iran.
Defence ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said the Simorgh satellite carrier rocket, whose name translates as “Phoenix”, had launched the devices at an altitude of 470 kilometres (290 miles). He did not give further details.
Hosseini was quoted as saying the “performance of the space centre and the performance of the satellite carrier was done properly”. He described the launch as “initial,” suggesting more are on the way.
“The research goals foreseen for this launch have been achieved,” Hosseini added, without elaborating on the nature of the research.
Iranian television aired footage of the white rocket – emblazoned with the words, “Simorgh satellite carrier” and the slogan “We can” – shooting into the morning sky from Iran’s Imam Khomeini Spaceport.
A state television reporter at a nearby desert site hailed the launch as “another achievement by Iranian scientists”.
Iranian state media recently presented a list of upcoming planned satellite launches for the country’s civilian space programme. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps runs its own parallel programme that successfully put a satellite into orbit last year.