The United States has voiced “great concern” over Iran launching its first domestically built satellite.
Robert Wood, a US state department spokesman, said that Tuesday’s satellite launch by Tehran could “possibly lead to the development of ballistic missiles”.
The fears were mirrored by Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, who said that it raised suspicion that Iran was continuing to develop a missile of “increasingly long range”.
The satellite, named Omid (Hope), was launched into orbit by rocket and is the first in a series that Iran plans to put into space by the end of next year.
“With this launch, the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially achieved a presence in space,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said in a broadcast.
Omid will stay in orbit for up to three months as part of a programme Iranian officials say is aimed at improving telecommunications and monitoring natural disasters.