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Satellite launch raises new fears about Iran' -

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Reporter: David Mark

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The launch of a rocket carrying the first made-in-Iran satellite has sent Western
leaders into a spin.

Iran says the satellite was built for peaceful purposes, but others argue it takes the country one
step closer to developing a nuclear weapon.

The west has been trying to stop Iran's nuclear enrichment program with no success.

As David Mark reports, the satellite's launch has raised the stakes for the Group of Six Nations
attempting to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

(Sound of launch countdown)

DAVID MARK: Early yesterday morning, the Safir-2 rocket blasted into the Iranian night sky.

(Sound of launch)

The rocket is carrying Iran's first satellite, called Omid, into space and the country into another
round of international fear and loathing.

Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (translated): I permit the launch of Omid national satellite which is carried
into orbit by Safir-2 rocket.

And because of the slogans of the Iranian nation during 1970s Islamic Revolution, I choose the
slogan of "God is great" as a start statement for this new operation.

God is great. God is great. Congratulations to the Iranian nation and all freedom-seeking nations.

DAVID MARK: Iran claims the satellite is meant for research and telecommunication purposes.

President Ahmadinejad says it was designed for peaceful purposes.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (translated): It will promote Iran's position in the world and will also give
our scientists and experts plenty of opportunities. When we look at the earth from space, we can
retrieve a different kind of information.

DAVID MARK: But the international community has quickly expressed its concern that the launch of
the satellite is a further step along the road to Iran arming a nuclear missile.

The US State Department spokesman, Robert Wood.

ROBERT WOOD: We've seen the press reports and you know, developing a space launch vehicle that can
put a satellite into orbit, could possibly lead to development of a ballistic missile system. So
that's of great concern to us.

DAVID MARK: Robert Wood's boss, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said the Obama
administration is prepared to help Iran, but clearly she has her reservations.

HILLARY CLINTON: We are obviously concerned about Iranian behaviour on a very broad base. It's not
limited to any one event or activity.

DAVID MARK: Representatives from the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany are due to meet
tomorrow to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The group has offered Iran a package of incentives if it stops enriching uranium and enters into
talks about its nuclear program.

Germany's Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the launch has highlighted the urgency of
the problem.

FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER (translated): We also have to understand that we are facing, in that
country, technical capabilities that really urgently require an intensified dialogue between us in
the months and weeks to come.

On the topic of Iran it is very important that we work together.

DAVID MARK: But is Iran willing to do that work and enter into a dialogue with the West?

Dr Michael McKinley is a senior lecturer in International Relations and Strategy at the Australian
National University.

MICHAEL MCKINLEY: Well Iran is willing to enter into a dialogue, because it's currently regarded as
a pariah state. The question is, what Iran's intentions are.

It's already got the ability to enrich uranium to the levels required by nuclear power production,
now it has its own home-grown rocket, more or less, and a satellite on top of that.

What that basically gives you is the ability, sooner or later, to use a ballistic missile for the
purposes of launching a nuclear weapon if you wanted to and if you had one.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Dr Michael McKinley, a lecturer in International Relations and Strategy at the
Australian National University. David Mark was the reporter.