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    Iran says its space program 'for peaceful purposes only'

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    The Iranian foreign minister reiterated on Tuesday that the country's space program was intended solely for peaceful purposes, following the launch of Iran's first domestically-build satellite into orbit.

    TEHRAN, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Iranian foreign minister reiterated on Tuesday that the country's space program was intended solely for peaceful purposes, following the launch of Iran's first domestically-build satellite into orbit.

    Tehran launched the Omid (Hope) satellite late on Monday, carried by an indigenous Safir-2 rocket.

    "Iran's satellite technology is for peaceful purposes only, and to meet the needs of the country," Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Ethiopia.

    Omid is Iran's second satellite in orbit. A previous Iranian satellite, Sinah-1, was built and launched for Iran by Russia in 2005.

    Iran has said it plans to put a "series of satellites" into space by 2010 to aid natural disaster management programs and improve telecommunications.

    The progress in the Iranian space program has aroused concerns throughout the world that Tehran is developing long-range ballistic missile technology that could be used to launch nuclear weapons.

    Mottaki said on Tuesday that Iran's strong military capacity was purely defensive.

    "Iran's people are peace-loving and they want peace with all countries around the world," he said.

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