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US finds Iran rocket launch 'troubling'

Latest update : 2008-08-18

US officials are concerned over Tehran's announcement that it had launched a rocket carrying a dummy satellite into space on Sunday. It is feared that the space technology will be diverted to military use.

The White House said Sunday that Iran's announcement it had launched a home-built rocket into space was "troubling" because such technology could also be used for ballistic missiles.
  
"The Iranian development and testing of rockets is troubling and raises further questions about their intentions," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said as US President George W. Bush spent time on his Texas ranch.
  
"This action and dual use possibilities for their ballistic missile program have been a subject of IAEA discussions and are inconsistent with their UN Security Council obligations," Johndroe said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the UN nuclear watchdog.
  
He spoke after Tehran said it had sent a home-built rocket carrying a dummy satellite into space on Sunday, in a move that could further exacerbate tensions with the West over its nuclear drive.
  
"The Safir (Ambassador) rocket was successfully launched. All its systems ... are Iranian made," Reza Taghipour, head of Iran's space agency, told state television, adding that a "test satellite was put into orbit."
  
"We have paved the way for placing a satellite in space in future," state television said, showing images of the pre-dawn rocket launch.
  
Western governments suspect Iran is trying to build an atomic weapon and have voiced concern that the technology used in the Islamic republic's space program could be diverted to military use, claims denied by Tehran.
  
Sunday's development came amid an international standoff over Tehran's long-standing refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process which makes nuclear fuel but also the core of an atomic bomb.
  

Date created : 2008-08-18

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