Iran’s official media said the launch was successful, however, a U.S. official couldn’t immediately confirm if the rocket reached space and if the satellite successfully deployed.

Iranian state television described the launch as involving a “Simorgh” rocket that is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 550 pounds. The state media report did not elaborate on the rocket’s payload.

“Simorgh” means “phoenix” in Farsi.

Iran has never successfully placed a satellite into orbit.

Thursday’s launch comes two days after a U.S. Navy warship fired warning shots at an Iranian patrol boat in the Persian Gulf, the first such episode since President Trump took office.

Iran successfully launched a satellite-laden Simorgh rocket from the Imam Khomeini National Space Center, Thursday, coinciding with the official opening of the site.

The rocket, also named Safir-2 or ‘Phoenix’ in Persian, can reportedly carry a 250-kilogram satellite.

The launch is yet to be accompanied by statements from either Iranian officials or their Western counterparts and regional adversaries, who have previously criticized Iran over the developments in its space program.

 

The launch comes as the United States has criticized Iran’s ballistic missile tests.

Such tests are allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran struck with world powers.  However, American officials argue that they violate the spirit of the accord that saw the Islamic Republic limit its uranium enrichment program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Iran has pursued a satellite launch program for years. The U.S. and its allies worry that the same technology could be used to develop long-range missiles.

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