[FPSPACE] New York Times article on Persian space launch
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Mon Aug 18 17:14:03 EDT 2008
August 19, 2008
Iran Offers to Launch Satellites
By NAZILA FATHI and THOM SHANKER
TEHRAN - A day after Iran
an/index.html?inline=nyt-geo> declared that it had test-fired a new rocket
capable of launching a satellite, the country said Monday that it was
prepared to help other Muslim countries send up satellites. But by then,
Pentagon and military officials in Washington were concluding that the
Iranian missile launching had been a failure.
The officials, speaking on ground rules of anonymity to discuss intelligence
reports, said that the first stage of the missile performed successfully,
but that the second stage failed. It flew off wildly, they said, destroying
the top of the missile and the nose cone.
Despite the mission's overall failure, the launching was expected to add to
Iran's knowledge about how to improve its missile skills, and thus was still
viewed as a worrisome development, according to the American officials.
A rocket capable of carrying a satellite to space could also deliver nuclear
warheads, and the Iranian announcement added to concerns over whether Iran's
nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes, as Iran maintains.
Iran has made several recent claims of test-firing missiles that Western
military analysts have said were inflated. Last month, Iran said it had
launched a number of missiles in war-game maneuvers, including at least one
that the government in Tehran described as having the range to reach Israel.
Western military analysts said that the war games featured more bluff than
displays of real power and that the description of the largest missile was
On Sunday, Iranian television showed images of the nighttime rocket
launching, and said a satellite had been sent into orbit. Iranian officials
later said that only the rocket had been fired.
On Monday, Reza Taghipour, head of Iran's space agency, told state
television: "I am announcing now that Iran is ready to launch satellites of
friendly Islamic countries into space."
Meanwhile, the minister of defense, Mostafa Mohammad Najar, dismissed the
concerns of Western nations and said they wanted to prevent Iran from making
scientific progress, the Fars news agency reported. He said Iran "would soon
place its national satellite" into orbit, but he did not say when.
The United Nations
nations/index.html?inline=nyt-org> nuclear watchdog group, the
tional_atomic_energy_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org> Atomic Energy
Agency, is expected to give its report on Iran's nuclear program in
September. On Monday, a top I.A.E.A. official, Olli Heinonen, made his
second visit this month for discussions with Iranian nuclear authorities,
ISNA news agency reported. Iran called the first visit positive.
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