Feeds

Iran fires rocket 'into space', plans satellite for '09

'Nothing for anyone to worry about'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Islamic Republic of Iran announced yesterday that it had fired a rocket "into space" and transmitted footage of the launch on state media. The move drew instant condemnation from the Bush administration in America.

According to Iranian state TV, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally called out the countdown before the rocket blasted off from a remote desert launchpad. The liftoff was accompanied by chants of "God is great" from officials gathered in the control room. The Iranian government gave few details of the rocket's capability, saying only that it had "reached space".

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe stated unequivocally that the test was threatening, saying: "It's unfortunate Iran continues to test ballistic missiles. This regime continues to take steps that only further isolate it and the Iranian people from the international community."

Iran already claims intermediate-range ballistic missile capability which would allow it to hit targets in Israel. Rockets in this class could offer the capability to "reach space" in that they could soar beyond the atmosphere and then fall back down, but this is of limited use.

However, Iranian officials also claim that they intend to place a satellite called Omid (Hope) into orbit in 2009. Such a launch would be of significance, as a rocket stack which can place a payload in orbit can also deliver one across intercontinental distances, like the long-range nuclear-tipped ICBMs in the armouries of major world powers.

Western governments, especially America, are concerned that the Iranian nuclear programme is directed at producing weapons. In such a context, possession of ICBM-class rockets by Iran would be a further reason to worry. The US intelligence community last year issued a report saying that Iran had indeed been working on atomic arms until lately, while claiming that it was not. However, in the assessment of the American spooks the Iranian weapons programme is now genuinely on hold.

The White House comments on yesterday's rocket launch drew a response from Tehran.

"Given the firm commitment of Iran's foreign policy to the principles of peace, justice, respect for the rights of nations, and peaceful coexistence, there is no reason for anyone to worry," said government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham.

Iran does not recognise the nation of Israel, though, and President Ahmadinejad has publicly predicted that Israel will not exist forever. It is also widely believed that Iranian Revolutionary Guard operatives and funding have long bolstered the Shi'ite militia Hizbollah in southern Lebanon, a constant thorn in the Israelis' side.

President Ahmadinejad insists that Iran is not a threat to any country. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.