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Iran Tested Solid-Fuel Satellite Carrier Rocket Amid Vienna Nuclear Talks: State Media

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Illustrative: Iranian satellite carrier rocket “Simorgh” is launched in an unknown location in Iran, in this picture obtained on December 30, 2021. Ministry of Defense of Iran/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has successfully tested its first solid fuel satellite carrier rocket, the Islamic Republic’s state-run news agency claimed Thursday.

Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the IRGC aerospace unit, was cited by the IRNA news agency as saying that in last week’s successful test, a solid-fuel satellite carrier was used, made of non-metal materials to save energy and costs. IMA Media, an Iran-based social media channel, posted a video showing footage of the test, saying that the solid-fueled space engine uses lightweight composite materials.

Hajizadeh further announced that Iran plans to launch more satellite carrier rockets into space.

Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) noted that the “use of solid-fuel is important as pure solid-fuel rockets are mostly associated with ballistic missiles systems.”

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“This shows Tehran is choosing to focus its advancements on ballistic missile technology — as opposed to additional nuclear steps — for leverage in Vienna,” Brodsky tweeted. “Tehran may calculate this is a safer bet, rather than increasing levels of enrichment right now, as it will only elicit repetitive statements of condemnation.”

The report comes after the US, France and Germany last month sharply criticized Iran’s satellite rocket launch to send three research devices into space, as indirect US-Iran talks resumed in Vienna to try to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal.

The satellite launch was in breach of UN Security Council resolutions, France’s foreign ministry said, calling on “Iran not to launch further ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, including space launchers.”

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