Iran claims satellite launching rocket first

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Iran's Safir rocket has been successfully launched in preparation for the country's first domestically designed and built satellite, according to the Iranian government's Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

The Iranian ministry of defence and armed forces' logistics is reported to have said the Messenger rocket lifted off, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad watching at the launch site.

The next step will be a launch of the Safir rocket carrying Iran's Omid, or Hope, satellite.

"Iran hopes to launch four more satellites by 2010, the government has said," reports IRNA.

The IRNA also says that Omid is a satellite "with data processing capabilities" that could monitor natural disasters "in the earthquake-prone nation" and improve telecommunications.

Meanwhile, Iranian Space Agency president Ahmad Talebzadeh has been elected chairman of the legal subcommittee of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for 2010-11. The current chairman is a Czech national.