JERUSALEM (JTA) – Iran said it launched its first domestically produced satellite.
The announcement was released Tuesday by the official state news agency IRNA, which said that Monday’s launch was part of the country’s effort to build a space industry, The New York Times reported.
The satellite, dubbed Omid, or hope, is designed for research and telecommunications, IRNA said, and will circle the earth 14 times a day, Reuters reported.
Weapons experts say the same technology used to launch the satellite into orbit could be used to launch weapons, according to the Times.
"Although this would appear just to be the launch of a satellite, their first, obviously there are dual-use capabilities in the technology here which could be applied toward the development of a long-range ballistic missile. And that is a cause of concern to us, and I think to certainly everybody in the region — Israel and their Arab neighbors — as well as to our allies in Europe," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Tuesday.
Iran’s last attempt to launch a satellite into orbit with a locally produced rocket occurred in August. Iran said the launch was a success; the U.S. said it was a failure.
The launch was said to mark Iran’s 30th year as an Islamic republic.