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Iran unveils new home-made communication satellites


A file photo.

TEHRAN (AFP): Iran on Monday unveiled two domestically-made communication satellites, one to bolster its wireless connections and the other capable of taking high-resolution pictures, media reported.

Iran's space programme has prompted concern among Western governments, which fear Tehran is trying to master the technology required to deliver a nuclear warhead.

The Islamic republic insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful and denies its space programme is linked in any way to its disputed nuclear ambitions.

The state-run IRNA news agency named the two satellites as Khalije Fars (Persian Gulf) and Tadbir (wisdom) and said they were built by scientists at local universities.

"Khalije Fars, designed and manufactured by researchers at Malek Ashtar University, is a small satellite which provides secure satellite wireless connections at national or regional scope," IRNA said.

"Tadbir was built by Tehran's University of Science and Industry and is capable of conducting photographic assignments with a resolution of 100 meters (yards)," the agency added.

The deputy head of Iran's space agency, Hamid Fazeli, meanwhile told Fars news agency that the Islamic republic will launch a satellite into orbit by the end of the Iranian year, which ends on March 21.

Fazeli said that Tadbir is among a number of satellites that are ready to be launched into space. He did not give further details.

In December, Iran said that it had safely returned a monkey to Earth after blasting it into space in the second such launch.

An earlier attempt had failed in September 2011.

Iran has already launched three satellites into space since 2009 and plans to send a human into orbit by 2020.

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