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An Iranian rocket failed to put a satellite into orbit on Sunday, state television reported, the latest setback for a programme the US claims helps Tehran advance its ballistic missile program.

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The launch happened at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Irans Semnan province, some 230 kilometers (145 miles) southeast of Irans capital, Tehran. A Simorgh, or “Phoenix,” rocket couldn't put the Zafar 1 communications satellite into orbit, however, due to a low speed, Iranian state TV reported.

“Stage-1 and stage-2 motors of the carrier functioned properly and the satellite was successfully detached from its carrier, but at the end of its path it did not reach the required speed for being put in the orbit,” Defense Ministry space programme spokesman Ahmad Hosseini told state TV.

Hosseini still sought to portray the failure as a “remarkable” achievement for its space programme.

In the days leading up to the launch, Iranian officials had been promoting the mission, including the country's Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi. His quick rise through the Islamic Republics carefully managed political system already is generating speculation he could be a candidate for Irans 2021 presidential campaign.

The launch had been planned amid celebrations ahead of the February anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran routinely unveils technological achievements for its armed forces, its space program and its nuclear efforts during this time.

Sunday's failure came after two failed launches of the Payam and Doosti satellites last year, as well as a launchpad rocket explosion in August. A separate fire at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in February 2019 also killed three researchers, authorities said at the time.

The rocket explosion in August drew even the attention of US President Donald Trump, who later tweeted what appeared to be a classified surveillance image of the launch failure. The three failures in a row raised suspicion of outside interference in Irans programme.

The US alleges such satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Iran, which long has said it does not seek nuclear weapons, maintains its satellite launches and rocket tests do not have a military component. Tehran also says it hasnt violated thRead More – Source