Iran to launch its first satellite soon: Ahmadinejad

August 16th, 2008 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Ankara, Aug 16 (IANS) Iran would launch its first satellite in the “near future”, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said, official IRNA news agency reported Saturday. The president, concluding his two-day Turkey visit, told reporters here Friday that the satellite and the rocket carrying it have been developed by Iranian scientists but did not say when the launching would take place.

“This satellite, the rocket that would launch it, and the land station from which it would be launched are entirely made in Iran, by Iranian scientists and technicians,” he said.

Tehran early this month had staged a massive naval exercise in the Persian Gulf during which it test fired a number of rockets, some of which are believed to be nuclear capable, that could reach any part of arch enemy Israel.

Ahmadinejad’s Turkey visit coming at a time of escalating tension with the West over its enrichment activities is seen by analysts as a significant diplomatic offensive by Tehran to garner support.

Iran has been asked to respond to a European Union (EU) offer that required it to halt its nuclear programme in return for trade concessions and aid. But the Islamic country so far has not come up with any definite response to the EU demands.

Many countries in the West suspect that Iran has a nuclear weapons development programme in the guise of a nuclear power plan. Tehran has denied the charge but has refused to stop its enrichment activities.

According to semi-official Anatolia news agency, Ankara is expected to announce its role as a “facilitator” in a bid to resolve the controversy.

Ankara is planning to tell the Iranian leadership that Tehran has the right to carry on nuclear activities for peaceful purposes, while making a series of “suggestions” for ending the dispute, the news agency said.

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