Iran vowed on Friday to launch more rockets into space before March, one day after it claimed “research payloads” were sent into low orbit around the earth.
Mehdi Farahi, deputy defense minister said Iran will use an advanced version of its Simorgh rocket, which he said has more superior technology.
Iran's annoucement Thursday of the rocket launch coincided with negotiation in Vienna over its nuclear program and could be seen as an attempt to demonstrate military prowess.
Rockets for space launch are in essence ballistic missiles that Tehran relied on as a main weapon against regional targets. Some foreign observers and governments have argued that Iran's space program is a cover for testing of ballistic missiles.
The US State Department criticized Thursday’s announcement by Iran of the rocket launch. “The United States continues to use all its nonproliferation tools to prevent the further advancement of Iran's missile programs and urges other countries to take steps to address Iran's missile development activity,” the State Department spokesman said.
Western powers have said Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles contravenes United Nations Security Council resolution 2231, which in endorsing the 2015 nuclear agreement banned Iran from “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”