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Iran Launches Rocket Amid Nuke Talks   06/26 08:42


   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.

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