Iran has successfully test-launched the domestically-produced civilian satellite carrier Zoljanah powered by a compound-fuel engine, Iranian News Agency (IRNA) reported on Sunday.
The IRNA news agency quoted Defense Ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini, as saying that the second launch, like the first, was for science purposes.
The launch vehicle has three stages, two of which are powered by solid fuel and one by liquid. Designed to launch satellites into orbit, it was first tested in February 2021.
According to Sputnik News Agency, Iran started its space program in the early 2000s, using the Shahab-4 surface-to-air missile as a base for creating its own satellite launcher. In 2009, the Semnan launch pad was built in the country's north.
Iran had its space program suspended between 2015 and 2017 due to high costs. Two civilian test-launches in 2019 were unsuccessful, but the Iranian military succeeded in launching two satellites into orbit in 2020 and March 2022.
Iran's space program has been a source of concern for the United States and its allies for several years, Sputnik said.
Talks over Iran's nuclear program
The launch comes a day after European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell traveled to Tehran in a push to resuscitate negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.
Borrell announced on June 25 that talks over the nuclear deal would resume in the coming days in a Persian Gulf country.
Borrell did not name the country, but RFE/RL reported on June 26 that the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council had reported that "given Qatar's continued efforts to resume talks on lifting sanctions, Doha has a chance to host future talks."
Iranian media also reported that Qatar would likely host the negotiations.
Iran has been engaged for more than a year in negotiations with Britain, Germany, France, Russia, and China directly -- and the United States, indirectly -- to revive the deal.
Negotiators were reportedly close to a new agreement but the talks in Vienna abruptly stalled in April, with Tehran and Washington blaming each other for failing to take the necessary political decisions to settle remaining issues.
Secret Talks Between Israel, Saudis on Anti-Iranian Air Defense Coordination
Meanwhile , the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, the United States organized a secret meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in March between top Israeli and Arab military officials to discuss how regional countries could improve coordination between their air defenses against Iran's ballistic missile and drone capabilities.
The Arab officers involved reportedly included commanders from Egypt and Jordan (which have formal relations with Tel Aviv and even cooperate on air defense) as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar (which do not). Officers from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which normalized ties with Israel in 2020 in a deal brokered by the US, were also in on the meeting, WSJ cited sources to be familiar with the talks.
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