Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday said the country's first military satellite has successfully been placed in orbit.
Sepah News, the news agency of the Revolutionary Guard, on Wednesday morning reported that Noor (light) satellite was launched by Ghased (Messenger) satellite carrier in the early hours of April 22 from a location in the central desert of Iran. According to Sepah News the military satellite is now orbiting 425 kilometers (264 miles) away from the earth.
"This is a great achievement and an aerospace breakthrough for the Islamic Iran," Sepah News said.
The photo published on Sepah News shows a section of the satellite carrier with a Quranic verse that means "Exalted is He who has subjected this vehicle to us, which we could not have otherwise subdued". The prayer is usually recited when commencing a journey.
This is Iran's fifth attempt at putting satellites in orbit. All previous attempts including the launch of Zafar (Victory) in February failed. According to Iranian officials the Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite carrier rocket failed to put Zafar in orbit.
Western countries say Iran's space and satellite programs are a cover for its ballistic missile program.
Following the failed launch of Zafar on a Simorgh satellite carrier in February, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged that Iran's attempts at launching satellites are meant to expand its missile program and stressed that the United States will continue its pressure on Iran to change its behavior.
France also condemned Iran's satellite launch in February and urged Tehran to respect its obligations on its controversial ballistic missile program as launching satellites requires technologies used for ballistic missiles, particularly intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Iran dismissed the allegations of any connection between the launch of Zafar which it claimed was only a telecommunications satellite and military aims, but in the most recent case has openly admitted the military nature of the satellite now claimed to be in orbit.