Iran will unveil a new home-built satellite in February, a newspaper reported Thursday, amid Western concerns that Tehran is using its nuclear and space industries to develop atomic and ballistic weapons.
"The new generation of Iran's national satellite called Toloo (Dawn) will be unveiled in February," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying by the governmental Iran paper.
The satellite has been designed by Sa Iran, also known as Iran Electronics Industries, an affiliate company of the defence ministry, the report said.
"Needs of armed forces in operations are met with local and reliable equipment of the defence industries of this ministry," Vahidi added.
He gave no further details.
Iran's first home-built satellite, the Omid (Hope), was launched in 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.
In mid-December, the Islamic republic test-fired its Sejil 2 (Lethal Stone), which it described as a faster version of a medium-range missile that could allow it to strike Israel.
The defiant missile test came as major powers are mulling fresh sanctions against Tehran over its disputed nuclear enrichment program.
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