Iran launches satellite-carrying rocket, say state media

Iran has successfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite into space, the country's state media are reporting.

Launch comes amid U.S. criticism of Iran's ballistic missile tests

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, centre, who was Iran's president from 2005 to 2013, gestures toward a model of Iran's new domestically built light booster rocket, named Simorgh, in Tehran on Feb. 3, 2010. (Associated Press)

Iran successfully launched a satellite-carrying rocket into space on Thursday, the country's state media reported without elaborating.

Iranian state television described the launch as involving a Simorgh rocket that is capable of carrying a satellite weighing 250 kilograms. The state media report did not elaborate on the rocket's payload.

Simorgh means "phoenix" in Farsi.

The website, which is affiliated with Iranian state television, as well as the semi-official Fars news agency also reported the launch on Thursday, saying it was successful.

The launch comes as the United States has criticized Iran's ballistic missile tests.

Such tests are allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran struck with world powers. However, American officials argue they violate the spirit of the accord that saw the Islamic Republic limit its uranium enrichment program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Iran has pursued a satellite launch program for years. The U.S. and its allies worry that the same technology could be used to develop long-range missiles.