DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran claimed on Wednesday that it successfully launched an imaging satellite into space, a move that could further ratchet up tensions with Western nations that fear its space technology could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran's Communication Minister Isa Zarepour said the Noor-3 satellite had been put in an orbit 450 kilometers (280 miles) above the Earth's surface, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. It was not clear when exactly the launch took place.
There was no immediate acknowledgment from Western officials of the launch or of the satellite being put into orbit. The U.S. military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iran has had a series of failed launches in recent years.
Zarepour said the aerospace arm of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which has had success in launching satellites in the past, had carried out the most recent launch.
Authorities released footage of a rocket taking off from a mobile launcher without saying where the launch occurred. Details in the video corresponded with a Guard base near Shahroud, some 330 kilometers (205 miles) northeast of the capital, Tehran. The base is in Semnan province, which hosts the Imam Khomeini Spaceport from which Iran's civilian space program operates.
The Guard operates its own space program and military infrastructure parallel to Iran's regular armed forces and answers only to Supreme Leader…