Iran has converted its most powerful ballistic missile into a satellite launch vehicle.
The The 30-ton Iranian space launcher has recently been assembled and "will liftoff soon" with an Iranian satellite, according to Alaoddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.
The move toward an independent space launch capacity is likely to ratchet up concern in the U.S. and Europe about Iran's strategic capabilities and intents. Orbiting its own satellite would send a powerful message throughout the Muslim world about the Shiite regime in Tehran.
U.S. agencies believe the launcher to be a derivation of the 800-1,000-mi. range Shahab 3 missile.
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