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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran launched a research rocket and unveiled its first major space center, state television reported Monday, the latest steps in a program many fear may be cover for further development of its military ballistic missiles.
State television showed live images of the event, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issuing the launch order.
Iran has long declared a goal of developing a space program, but the same technology used to put satellites in space can also be used to deliver warheads. The country's space program, like its nuclear power program, has provoked unease abroad.
"It is just another troubling development," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "And, of course, the U.N. Security Council and other members of the international system have expressed their deep concern about Iran's continuing development of medium- and long-range ballistic missiles."