TEHRAN — Iran will unveil three new satellites in February, a report said Wednesday, amid Western concerns that Tehran is using its nuclear and space industries to develop atomic and ballistic weapons.
ISNA news agency quoted Communications Minister Reza Taghipour as saying that one of the three home-built communications satellites is still under construction.
Taghipour named the three satellites as Toloo (Dawn), Ya Mahdi and Mesbah-2, but did not elaborate on exactly when they would be launched.
Ya Mahdi, Taghipour said as quoted by ISNA, was an "experimental satellite" and the launch would be for testing camera and telecommunications equipment.
Mesbah-2, which is under construction, "is a low-orbit telecommunication satellite for storing and sending messages," he said.
"It can do different tasks, not as a 24-hour link, but it can be used for limited communication applications."
Iran's defence minister Ahmad Vahidi said Wednesday that Toloo is a "reconnaissance satellite," ISNA reported.
Vahidi had previously said Toloo would be unveiled during celebrations in early February marking the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
He said last month that Toloo was designed by Sa Iran, also known as Iran Electronics Industries, an affiliate company of the defence ministry.
"Needs of armed forces in operations are met with local and reliable equipment of the defence industries of this ministry," Vahidi was quoted as saying.
Iran's first home-built satellite, the Omid (Hope), was launched last February to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
The launch sent alarm bells ringing in the international community, which voiced concern over Iran's development of technology that could be used for military purposes.
The West suspects Iran of secretly trying to build an atomic bomb and fears the technology used to launch space rockets could be diverted into developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Tehran denies having military goals for its space programme or its nuclear drive.
Iran had earlier announced it was building seven new satellites, including three for high orbit positions.
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