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Report: Iran has built new rocket-launching site

Iran has built a second rocket-launching facility that could be capable of testing ballistic missiles, according to satellite imagery analyzed by a military intelligence journal.

Jane's Intelligence Review says that DigitalGlobe satellite images taken on July 6 show the launch pad and tower at Iran's new facility located in the northern province of Semnan.

Iranian officials had already indicated that a space-launch facility was being constructed to bolster the existing one, which is southeast of the city of Semnan.

Iran has aggressively pursued its space program in recent years. In January, Iranian state TV reported the country had successfully sent a monkey into space in what was described as another step toward Tehran's goal of a manned space flight.

Jane's also identified a third rocket-launching site being constructed near the southeast of the city of Shahrud.

"The revelation that Iran has invested significant resources to rapidly build two, possibly three space centres at a time of mounting economic pressure is likely to be interpreted by some observers as evidence that it intends to use them as launch facilities for crude intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) armed with nuclear warheads," Jane's wrote.

But the journal noted is is "more likely that the three sites reflect the scale of Iran's ambitious space programme."

The U.S. and its allies worry that technology from the space program could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads.

Iran has said it seeks to send an astronaut into space as part of its ambitious aerospace program. In 2010, Iran said it launched a rocket into space carrying a mouse, turtle and worms.

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