Iran’s Guard says it launched satellite amid US tensions

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday it launched a military satellite into orbit amid wider tensions with the U.S., a successful launch after months of failures.

There was no immediate independent confirmation of the launch of the satellite, which the Guard called “Noor,” or light.

The Guard on its official said the satellite successfully reached an orbit of 425 kilometers (264 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

The two-stage satellite launch took off from Iran’s Central Desert, the Guard said, without elaborating.

The launch comes amid tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal and after a U.S. drone strike killed Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January.

Iran has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent months.

On Sunday, the Guard acknowledged it had a tense encounter with U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf last week, but alleged without offering evidence that American forces sparked the incident.

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press journalist Mehdi Fattahi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

In this Wednesday, April 15, 2020, photo made available by U.S. Navy, Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels sail close to U.S. military ships in the Persian Gulf near Kuwait. A group of 11 Iranian naval vessels made “dangerous and harassing” maneuvers near U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf near Kuwait on Wednesday, in one case passing within 10 yards (meters) of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, U.S. officials said. Iranian officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident. (U.S. Navy via AP)
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