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Iran delays launch of observation satellite


TEHRAN (AFP): Iran announced Tuesday it has delayed the launch of an experimental observation satellite that was supposed to have happened a week ago, saying it would now take place sometime within the next 10 months.

The country's space agency chief, Hamid Fazeli, announced the new window for launch to the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

He gave no explanation for the delay.

The head of Iran's aerospatial industries, Mehdi Farahi, had told IRNA on May 14 that the Fajr satellite would be launched on May 23.

Iranian Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi subsequently confirmed the planned May 23 date, but said it was not excluded that the launch be put back by up to a month.

It is to be the fourth satellite sent into space since 2009 by Iran, whose space programme has attracted the concern of international community, which suspects Tehran is seeking to develop long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying conventional warheads or nuclear ones.

The same technology used in space launch rockets can also be used in ballistic missiles.

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