Noor satellite launched into orbit by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps
Noor satellite launched into orbit by Iran's Revolutionary Guards CorpsReuters

Iran is preparing to launch "at least two satellites" into space by late March, Telecommunications Minister Issa Zarepour said Sunday, according to the AFP news agency.

"Nahid 1 and Nahid 2 satellites are being prepared," Zarepour was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

Nahid is the name given to a series of telecommunications satellites developed by the Iranian Space Research Center.

"We will have launches by year's end," added Zarepour, meaning March 20 in the Persian calendar.

In November, Iran's Revolutionary Guard launched a new satellite-carrying rocket, called the Ghaem-100.

In August, another Iranian satellite, named Khayyam, was launched by Russia on a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Iran has several times tried to launch satellites into space. In January, a top Iranian official claimed that Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had launched a solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket into space and that the test was successful.

A month earlier, Iran claimed it had successfully launched three research satellites into space. According to Ahmad Hosseini, a Defense Ministry spokesman, the rocket used was a Simorgh.

A day later, however, Iran acknowledged that the space launch failed to put its three payloads into orbit after the rocket was unable to reach the required speed.

Iran says its satellite program, like its nuclear activities, is aimed at scientific research and other civilian applications.

US officials say that Iran’s satellite launches defy UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Resolution 2231 enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States and calls on Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.