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Iran Building Four More Satellites, Report Says

The launch of the Omid satellite
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran is building four more satellites, the telecommunications minister was quoted as saying, after the Islamic republic put its first domestically produced satellite into orbit last week.

Iran launched a research and telecom satellite, called Omid, on February 3, a step that worried Western powers who fear Tehran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb and missile delivery systems.

Iran insists its nuclear work is to generate electricity and said the satellite launch was for peaceful purposes.

The long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used for launching warheads.

"There are now four other satellites being manufactured by Iranian experts," Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Soleimani was quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying, without saying when they might be launched.

"Details about these four satellites will be announced subsequent to their final preparation," he said adding that, following the launch of Omid, Iran "will try to raise the weight and altitude of the satellites to be launched."

He also said Omid, which means "hope" in Persian, was performing its mission successfully. State media had earlier said Omid would return to Earth with data after orbiting for one to three months.