Iran claims first launch of its own satellite

By NASSER KARIMI and JASON KEYSER, Associated Press Writers Nasser Karimi And Jason Keyser, Associated Press Writers Tue Feb 3, 4:24 pm ET

Raw Video: Iran launches its first satellite Play Video AP  – Raw Video: Iran launches its first satellite

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran sent its first domestically made satellite into orbit, the president announced Tuesday, a key step for an ambitious space program that worries the U.S. and other world powers because the same rocket technology used to launch satellites can also deliver warheads.

For nearly a decade, Iran has sought to develop a national space program, creating unease among international leaders already concerned about its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The telecommunications satellite — called Omid, or hope, in Farsi — was launched late Monday after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave the order to proceed, according to a report on state radio. State television showed footage of what it said was the nighttime liftoff of the rocket carrying the satellite at an unidentified location in Iran.