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Iran To Mark Satellite Launch With Bank Note

A Safir Rocket Carrying Iran's Omid 2 Satellite Into Orbit
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran plans to issue a new bank note and coin with images of its first domestically-produced satellite, media have reported, a few weeks after the Islamic state sent it into space.

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

Iran says its nuclear work is to generate electricity, and the satellite launch was for peaceful purposes. The long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch warheads.

"In order to commemorate its achievements in space sciences the government has given permission to the central bank to use pictures of the Omid satellite and its rocket launcher on both bank notes and coins," the "Abrar" newspaper said.

State radio said the Central Bank would issue such notes and coins without giving detail on when and in which denomination.

In 2007, Iran issued a bank note for 50,000 rials ($5.20) carrying an atomic symbol, the biggest note now in circulation. Like other bank notes in Iran, it also carried a picture of the late founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

With inflation officially running at about 26 percent, Iranians carry increasingly large quantities of notes even for relatively modest shopping trips.