Iran tested a new rocket on Monday with improved technology that could be used in its missile program, its latest attempt to raise the stakes for the Biden administration ahead of potential negotiations over a new nuclear deal.
The new rocket, named Zuljanah, was developed under a government-backed program to send civilian satellites into orbit 310 miles above ground, according to a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Space Department. The technology is easily transferable to Iran’s military missile program run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, experts say.
The Zuljanah features a solid-fuel-propelled motor that is the largest yet exhibited by Iran. Motors propelled by solid fuel, rather than liquid, are a key component in intercontinental ballistic missiles, which the U.S. seeks to prevent Iran from developing.
“After tests…[it] will be ready to put operational satellites in orbit,” said Ahmad Hosseini of the Defense Ministry, according to the IRNA state news agency.
While Iran regularly tests new missile technology, Monday’s launch, which was broadcast on national television, was the first since President Biden took office.