TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state television said on Sunday that Tehran has launched a solid-fueled rocket with a satellite carrier, a day after Iran and the European Union agreed to resume stalled talks over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
It’s unclear when exactly the rocket was launched, but the announcement came after satellite photos showed preparations at a desert launch pad. Iran had also acknowledged that it planned tests for the satellite-carrying Zuljanah rocket. State-run media claimed that the rocket launch was successful.
The news comes after the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, traveled to Tehran in a push to resuscitate stalemated negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and announced on Saturday that the U.S. and Iran would resume indirect talks in the coming days.
Previous rocket launches have drawn rebukes from the United States, which says that such satellite launches defy a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on Iran to steer clear of any 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.
Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA quoted Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for the Defense Ministry, as saying that the satellite carrier would gather information in low-earth orbit and would be critical to promote Iran’s space industry.