Iran has successfully tested a rocket that can deliver satellites into orbit, state television reported on Thursday, an event likely to raise tensions with the United States because of its potential use in a ballistic missile.

Washington has said Iran is defying a U.N. resolution calling on it not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Tehran denies it has missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.

“The Imam Khomeini Space Centre was officially opened with the successful test of the Simorgh (Phoenix) space launch vehicle,” state television said. “The Simorgh can place a satellite weighing up to 250 kg (550 pounds) in an orbit of 500 km (311 miles).”

State television showed footage of the firing of the rocket, mounted on a launch-pad carrying the pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, and Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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