Iranian missile test (archives)
Photo: AFP

Iran reports rocket launch amid nuclear tension

State media reports Kavosh 2 rocket successfully launched to 'register and send correct environmental data'. Meanwhile, country also announces it has 5,000 centrifuges operating in uranium enrichment plant

Iran has successfully launched a rocket called "Kavosh 2," Iran's state media reported on Wednesday, displaying the Islamic state's advances in ballistics at a time when the West is worried about its nuclear ambitions.


According to reports, upon completing its mission, the rocket returned to the ground with the help of a special parachute 40 minutes after being launched.


It is not clear when the rocket was launched, but according to the Iranians, the rocket is meant to "create a basis for scientific and technological development in the filed of space".


State television did not give any further details about "Kavosh 2," which means "Explorer 2," saying details about the home-made rocket will be announced later.


"The rocket was launched to register and send correct environmental data and (to test) separation of the engine from the body," state radio said.


The launch follows an announcement earlier this month that Iran had test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile, saying the Islamic Republic was ready to defend itself against any attacker.


About two months ago, Iranian state TV said a joint research satellite was successfully launched into orbit by a Chinese rocket.


Iranian Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Soleimani said that Iran, China and Thailand worked together to build the satellite.  


5,000 centrifuges in uranium enrichment plant 

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Iran's nuclear chief said that the country now has more than 5,000 centrifuges operating at its uranium enrichment plant.


The announcement is Iran's latest defiance of UN demands that Tehran halt its controversial nuclear program.


The Iranian official, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, says Iran will continue to install centrifuges and enrich uranium in order to produce nuclear fuel for the country's future nuclear power plants.


Uranium enriched to low level is used to produce nuclear fuel. Further enrichment makes it suitable for use in nuclear weapons.


The new number of working centrifuges is a significant increase from the 4,000 Iran said were up and running in August at the plant in the central Iranian city of Natanz.


Dudi Cohen contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.26.08, 14:52
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