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Iran launches Zoljanah rocket into space as nuclear talks expected to resume

Iran launches Zoljanah rocket into space as nuclear talks expected to resume
Iran on Sunday said it had launched its “Zoljanah” rocket into space as nuclear deal talks are expected to resume. Photo courtesy Islamic Republic News Agency

June 26 (UPI) -- Iran on Sunday said it had launched its "Zoljanah" rocket into space as nuclear deal talks are expected to resume.

Ahmad Hosseini, the spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry's Space Department, told Iranian state media Sunday that Iran had launched rocket capable of carrying a payload of 220 kilograms into low-earth orbit.

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It is the second "homemade" Zoljanah satellite carrier that Iran has launched having first launched the rocket in February 2021, according to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency.

Photos published by Iranian state media showed the rocket lifting off from a launch facility Snegunday though it was not immediately clear if the launch was successful.

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Brigadier General Amir Hatami, Iran's defense minister, hailed the previous launch as a "breakthrough" that "proved Iran's scientific power," according to state media.

Josep Borrell, the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy at the European Union, said in a video statement to Twitter on Saturday that negotiations around a nuclear deal with Iran were expected to resume.

The administration of former President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the previous Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015 by the United States, days before a deadline to recertify the accord in 2018.

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President Joe Biden's administration has sought to return to the deal, which would restrict Iran's nuclear program.

"We managed to develop the situation and in the coming days, and I'm saying in the coming days, I mean immediately, we will restart the discussions stopped for the last two months," Borrell said.

"The U.S. and Iran will talk, not directly but with a facilitation by me and my team as coordinator. So that's good."

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Borrell said that he explained to Iran that the deal would allow their economy to reach its full potential "in terms of trade, developing energy resources and many other advantages."

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