February 18, 2008

Iran Reports Successful Transmission from Test Rocket

Iranian state media reported on Sunday that the country had successfully received transmission from a trial rocket that was launched into orbit designed to carry a satellite into space.

The rocket, launched on February 4, sparked further concern from the international community due to speculation that the technology could be used to launch weapons from space.

"Iran's recently launched research rocket has successfully transmitted scientific data back to the country," state television said. It also added that the information was sent after reaching orbit.

The United States and Russia voiced their concern upon hearing the news. The U.S. called Tehran's trial missile unfortunate, while Moscow responded with notions that the test further underlines suspicions of Iranian's intent to develop nuclear weapons.

France weighed in saying that because the rocket cannot navigate space, Sunday's news points toward technology intended to make nuclear weapons "“ a notion which Iranian officials have denied, stating that the focus of the project was for research.

In 2005, Iran launched its first satellite, Sina-1, into orbit from a Russian rocket.

Last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that two more similar rocket tests to be conducted before the real launch, which he expects will occur in coming months.

Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, said that it needs to expand to nuclear energy in order to meet the nation's increasing electricity demands.

The U.S., France and Russia and other nations are in the midst of a third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran for ignoring international demands to suspend further research of technology such as uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power plants or, potentially, bombs.