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Iran to launch three indigenous satellites soon

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Iranian satellite Safir. ISNA Photo

TEHRAN (AFP): Iran will unveil three new satellites in February amid Western concerns that Tehran is using its nuclear and space industries to develop atomic and ballistic weapons.

ISNA news agency quoted Communications Minister Reza Taghipour as saying that one of the three home-built communications satellites is still under construction.

Taghipour named the three satellites as Toloo (Dawn), Ya Mahdi and Mesbah-2, but did not elaborate on exactly when they would be launched.

Ya Mahdi, Taghipour said as quoted by ISNA, was an "experimental satellite" and the launch would be for testing camera and telecommunications equipment.

Mesbah-2, which is under construction, "is a low-orbit telecommunication satellite for storing and sending messages," he said.

"It can do different tasks, not as a 24-hour link, but it can be used for limited communication applications."

Iran's defence minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Wednesday that Toloo is a "reconnaissance satellite," ISNA reported.

Vahidi had previously said Toloo would be unveiled during celebrations in early February marking the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

He said last month that Toloo was designed by Sa Iran, also known as Iran Electronics Industries, an affiliate company of the defence ministry.

"Needs of armed forces in operations are met with local and reliable equipment of the defence industries of this ministry," Vahidi was quoted as saying.

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