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Iran Reportedly Test Launches Rocket Capable Of Taking Satellite Into Orbit

Iran missiles displayed during Quds Day ceremonies in Tehran

Iranian state media report that Iran has successfully test launched a rocket capable of carrying a satellite into a low earth orbit.

Iranian state television and other domestic media on July 27 said the test involved the Simorgh (“Phoenix”) space-launch vehicle, which can be used to send a satellite weighing up to 250 kilograms "into an orbit of 500 kilometers."

"The Imam Khomeini Space Center was officially opened with the successful test of the Simorgh space launch vehicle," state television reported.

The U.S. State Department said on July 27 that the launch was a "provocative" action that violated a U.N. Security Council resolution as well as the spirit of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal reached between Iran and Western powers.

The 2015 accord imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

“We consider that to be continued ballistic-missile development," spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a news briefing. "We believe that what happened overnight and in the morning is a violation of the spirit of the JCPOA," referring to the Iran nuclear deal.

Western officials have expressed concerns that the same technology used to launch satellites could be converted to develop long-range missiles. Iran denies its space program is a cover for developing weapons.

Iran in April 2016 attempted a similar launch but failed to put a satellite into orbit, Fox News quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Fox News, and AP