Tehran, April 22 (efe-epa).- The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran said it had successfully launched its first military satellite into orbit on Wednesday to improve its defensive capacity amid growing tensions with the United States.
The launch took place from the Dasht-e Kavir desert in central Iran and the satellite reached an orbit of 425 km above the Earth’s surface, the Revolutionary Guard said in a statement on its website.
The Noor satellite, meaning light, used a Ghasad satellite carrier to launch it into space, both of which were locally made.
Commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guard Hossein Salami said: “We have made a leap in the field of expanding territory and strategic intelligence.”
“Today, we can see the world from space, and this means expanding the strategic intelligence of the powerful defence force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“The deployment of this multi-purpose satellite in space, both in the field of information technology and intelligence battles, can produce strategic added value for us, and in intelligence warfare, it creates powerful grounds for us,” he added.
The commander in chief said that both the satellite and its carrier rocket were domestically manufactured given the country is under heavy US economic sanctions which have been in place for two years.
He said the important achievement proved that sanctions were “driving the development of new technologies to achieve great power at a regional level and, in the near future, at a global level.”
The launch from the large salt desert in the middle of the Iranian plateau coincided with the 41st anniversary of the founding of the Revolutionary Guard which was created in 1979 by order of Ayatollah Khomeini, then-leader of the country after the overthrow of the monarchy.
Iran put Omid (Hope), its first domestically made satellite into orbit in 2009, and in the subsequent three years, it launched two more.
In 2017 Simorgh rocket was launched from the Imam Khomeini National Space Centre.
However, in January 2019 and last February, Iranian authorities failed to put two satellites into orbit as they did not reach sufficient speed during take-off.
The United States is highly critical of Iran’s space program as it believes that behind these attempts, the Islamic Republic is concealing a project to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and travelling long distances.
Washington declared the Revolutionary Guard a terror group a year ago and the armed forces of both countries have had several incidents in the Persian Gulf.
The US assassinated Quasem Soleimani, a general of the Revolutionary Guard, in an airstrike on 3 January in Baghdad.EFE-EPA