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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Iran claims launch of turtles, rodent into space - CNN.com
"(CNN) -- Iran said Wednesday it had launched a rocket carrying a rodent, two turtles and some worms into orbit, claiming it as a successful advance in a space program that has raised international concerns. The official Islamic Republic News Agency said the "home-built" Kavoshgar-3, or Explorer-3 rocket was launched at a ceremony to commemorate this month's anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew Iran's monarchy. Iran, which is trying to contain a political crisis after violent protests erupted following the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is expected to mount a series of high profile events to mark the anniversary. State-run Press TV quoted Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi declaring the launch a success and describing Iran's space program as "peaceful." "Iran will not tolerate any un-peaceful use [of space] by any country," he said. Last year the U.S. State Department expressed "grave concern" over Iran's announcement it was planning a series of satellite launches. "Developing a space launch vehicle that could... put a satellite into orbit could possibly lead to development of a ballistic missile system," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said at the time. "So that's a grave concern to us." The Pentagon called the plan "clearly a concern of ours.""