Iran has launched a solid-fueled rocket into space. Defense Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said Zuljanah, a 25.5 meter-long rocket, is capable of carrying a satellite of 220 kilograms that will ultimately gather data in low-earth orbit and promote Iran’s space industry.
Zuljanah is named for the horse of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
However, it drew a rebuke from US ahead of the expected resumption of stalled talks over Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. The US said it is aware of Iran’s announcement and criticized the move as unhelpful and destabilizing. The US said it is committed to using sanctions and other measures to prevent further advances in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Iran, which long has said it does not seek nuclear weapons, maintains its satellite launches and rocket tests do not have a military component.
The launch comes just a day after the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, traveled to Tehran in a push to resuscitate negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program that have stalemated for months.