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Iran launches rocket capable of carrying a satellite into orbit

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]

Iran yesterday launched a solid-fuel rocket capable of carrying a satellite into orbit, a day after Tehran and the European Union agreed to resume talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

It was not clear when the rocket was launched,  but the announcement came after satellite images showed preparations at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran's rural Semnan province.

Spokesman for Iran's Defence Ministry, Ahmad Hosseini, said the 25.5 metre-long rocket, named Zuljanah, was capable of carrying a satellite of 220 kilogrammes that would gather data in low orbit and promote the country's space industry.

Hosseini added that the satellite competes with modern satellites which consist of two stages; one for solid propellant and one stage for liquid propellant.

READ: Iran, EU agree to resume Vienna nuclear talks 'in days'

The launch came a day after the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, travelled to Tehran in a bid to revive stalled negotiations on Iran's nuclear deal, and announced on Saturday that the United States and Iran would resume talks in the coming days.

Previous missile launches have been rebuked by the United States, which says such satellite launches defy a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on Iran to refrain from activities related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Iran, which has long said it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, insists that satellite launches and missile tests have no military component.

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