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Iran working over creation of four new satellites - minister

RIA Novosti

08/02/2009 17:44 TEHRAN, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian scientists are working over the creation of four new satellites for their placement into a near-Earth orbit, Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad Soleimani said on Sunday.

Iran put its first communications satellite, Omid (Hope), into a low Earth orbit on Monday. The research satellite, which contains communications and digital equipment, was carried into orbit by a home-made launch vehicle, Safir (Messenger).

The United States, France, Israel and Britain have already expressed concern over the launch. They have said that Tehran may be developing long-range ballistic missile technology that could be used to launch nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its space program is of an entirely peaceful nature.

Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, which it insists is purely civilian but the West, led by the United States and Israel, maintains is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

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