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Iran says it has successfully launched an image-transmitting satellite into space.
Iran's state news agency IRNA, citing Information and Communication Technology Minister Isa Zarepur, reported that the Noor-3 satellite had been launched into orbit 3 kilometers (450 miles) above the Earth's surface.
Representatives of Western countries have not yet confirmed the launch of the satellite into orbit. In recent years, Iran has made a series of failed attempts to launch satellites.
Zarepur said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' aerospace force had launched a carrier rocket, with which it had already successfully launched satellites into orbit as part of its secret program.
But Iranian authorities have not yet released footage of the launch, the AP said.
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The United States says Iran's satellite launch violates U.N. Security Council resolutions and urges Tehran not to engage in ballistic missile activities that could be fitted with nuclear warheads. According to an assessment by the U.S. intelligence community, last year, the satellite launch vehicle "shortens the time" to Iran's acquisition of an intercontinental ballistic missile, as both use "similar technologies."
Iran, which has long claimed not to seek nuclear weapons, says satellite launches and missile tests are not military in nature. But U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency say Tehran abandoned its organized military nuclear program in 2003, and Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.