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France claims Iran's space rocket launch violates UN rules

A picture obtained on December 14, 2013 from Iran's ISNA news agency allegedly shows the launch of the Pajohesh (research) rocket [AFP/Getty Images]
A picture obtained on December 14, 2013 from Iran's ISNA news agency allegedly shows the launch of the Pajohesh (research) rocket [AFP/Getty Images]

France has condemned Iran's space rocket launch, describing it as "regrettable" amid Iran's ongoing nuclear talks with world powers, news agencies reported.

The satellite launch was in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions, the French Foreign Ministry claimed.

"These activities are all the more regrettable as they come at a time when we are making progress in the nuclear negotiations in Vienna," the ministry expressed.

It added: "We call on Iran not to launch further ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, including space launchers."

Iranian state TV showed footage confirming the launch from the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in the north of the country.

Meanwhile, the US and Germany criticised the launch, which Iran defended as being intended for "civilian purposes".

"The United States remains concerned with Iran's development of space launch vehicles, which pose a significant proliferation concern," a US State Department spokesperson confirmed.

A German diplomat added that such launches could be used to test technology for ballistic missiles, which could be used to deliver nuclear weapons.

Iran has rejected the French, US and German criticisms.

"Scientific and research advances, including in the field of aerospace, are the inalienable right of the Iranian people, and such meddling statements will not undermine the Iranian people's determination to make progress in this field," Iran's Foreign Ministry responded.

Reuters reported that the space launch failed to put its three payloads into orbit after the rocket was unable to reach the required speed.

"For a payload to enter orbit, it needs to reach speeds above 7,600 (metres per second). We reached 7,350," Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmad Hosseini explained.

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