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Iran’s Payam satellite fails to reach orbit after launch – official

Tehran conducted one of at least two satellite launches it plans despite criticism from the US on Tuesday, but the satellite failed to reach orbit, an official said. The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi told state television. The minister said the rocket had successfully passed its first and second stages before developing problems in the third. He did not elaborate on what caused the rocket failure, AP said. Iran has said it plans to send two satellites, Payam and Doosti, into orbit. Payam means “message” in Farsi, while Doosti means “friendship.” Jahromi wrote on Twitter that “Doosti is waiting for orbit.” Iran says the launches would not violate a UN Security Council resolution that calls on Tehran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran also denies wanting nuclear weapons.