TEHRAN, Iran – State television in Iran is reporting the Islamic Republic has launched a new satellite into space, its fourth in recent years to orbit the Earth.
The report Monday quoted Defence Minister Gen. Hossein Dehghan saying the satellite, designed and built in Iran, is named “Fajr,” or dawn in Farsi. The report did not elaborate.
The satellite’s launch comes amid negotiations with world powers over Iran’s contested nuclear program. International observers worry that Iran’s space program could help it design rockets that could carry nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear and space programs are for peaceful purposes. The West worries Iran could enrich enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb. Negotiators reached an interim deal in 2013 with Iran over its nuclear program, but have yet to reach a permanent one.