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Russia: Iranian Rocket Raises 'Suspicions' About Nuclear Program


A senior Russian diplomat says Iran's test launch of a rocket earlier this week has raised "suspicions" about the country's nuclear program.

Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov Wednesday as saying long-range rockets are one of the components of a nuclear weapons program.

Iran inaugurated its first major space center Monday and launched a new rocket capable of carrying a first domestic-built satellite into orbit.

Iran has been pursuing a space program for several years. It says it wants to launch satellites for research and telecommunications.

U.S. officials describe the Iranian rocket as a ballistic missile and say the test will further isolate Tehran from the world.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of developing technology to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge.

The U.N. Security Council has already imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment.

The five permanent members of the council, which includes the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, recently agreed on the text of a resolution that will impose a third round of sanctions against Iran.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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