Iran successfully launched a satellite-carrying rocket into space on Thursday, Iranian news outlets reported.
The rocket launched is a Simorgh, or Phoenix missile, which experts said was a copy of North Korea’s Unha space-launch rocket. Iran’s national news channel said its missile was capable of placing satellites weighing up to 550 pounds into a 310-mile low earth orbit.
It represents the most significant successful test of such technology, which can be used for space projects as well as long-range nuclear-capable weapons, the media reports.
Last week, the Trump administration announced new Iran-related sanctions it said were meant to show its toughened stance toward the country despite having grudgingly affirmed its compliance with the nuclear deal.
Iran says its space program is peaceful, but Western experts suspect it may be a cover for developing military missile technologies.
Iran's satellite-launch programme falls under the responsibility of the defence ministry, which has denied that the space programme is a cover for weapons development.