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Iran Satellite Launch Delayed For Time-Being, Space Official Says

Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan, Iran. FILE PHOTO
Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan, Iran. FILE PHOTO

The Head of Iran's Space Organization on Saturday said launching the Zafar satellite into orbit has been delayed "in order not to sacrifice accuracy to swiftness" while the Spokesman of Iranian Defense Ministry's Space Department maintained that the satellite will be launched "at the first opportunity when everything is prepared".

Morteza Barari who heads Iran's Space Organization and is also the Secretary of Iran's Space High Council did not explain the details but claimed that Zafar which was scheduled to be launched last week has passed all tests and there are "no issues for putting it in orbit".

On Friday in a tweet Barari had said that more than 100 reporters, as well as a large group of elite students, were waiting at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Semnan Province to witness the launch.

State officials including Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari-Jahromi last week said the launch of Zafar [Victory] satellite was imminent.

Zafar was expected to be launched on the National Space Technology Day in Iran (14th of Bahman in Iranian calendar) which falls on February 8 this year.

The National Space Technology Day has been celebrated by unveiling new satellite models since February 2, 2009 when Iran's first satellite called Omid (Hope) was launched.

Last year, three attempts to launch a satellite by Iran failed, with one explosion on the launch pad.

An earlier report by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on January 26 quoted Azari-Jahromi as saying Tehran planned to launch six satellites into orbit this year, including the Zafar 1 and 2.

IRNA described the Zafar 1 and 2 as communication satellites aimed at “broadcasting a single message to all users, establishing one-way voice communication between two users and sending a message to 256 direct users.

Officials at the Iranian Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (ITC) say it took 80 Iranian engineers three years to build the satellite which is to be launched into space with a Simorgh satellite carrier missile.

The United States has accused Iran of using its satellite launch program as a cover for developing long-range ballistic missiles.