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Iran claims to launch imaging satellite into orbit as tensions simmer with West

Western officials yet to comment on move, which follows series of failed launch attempts in recent years

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran claimed on Wednesday that it has successfully put an imaging satellite into space.

The state-run IRNA news agency, quoting the country’s Communication Minister Isa Zarepour, said the Noor-3 satellite had been put in an orbit 450 kilometers (280 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

There was no immediate acknowledgment from Western officials of the launch or of the satellite being put into orbit. Iran has had a series of failed launches in recent years.

Zarepour said the aerospace arm of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched the satellite carrier, which has had success in launching satellites from its previously secret launch program. Authorities did not immediately release images of the launch.

The United States has alleged that Iran’s satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution and has called on Tehran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The US intelligence community’s 2022 threat assessment claims such a satellite launch vehicle “shortens the timeline” to an intercontinental ballistic missile for Iran as it uses “similar technologies.”

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Iran, which has long claimed it does not seek nuclear weapons, previously maintained that its satellite launches and rocket tests do not have a military component. Israel accuses it of secretly continuing a nuclear weapons program Tehran says it abandoned in 2003, noting uranium enrichment to levels that have no civilian use and repeated threats to annihilate the Jewish state.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.