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The recent launch of an Iranian rocket was strictly for peaceful
The recent launch of an Iranian rocket was strictly for peaceful purposes, and was designed to obtain meteorological data, the Islamic republic's ambassador to Moscow said on Friday.

Tehran successfully tested on Monday the Explorer-1 research rocket, purportedly capable of carrying a satellite into orbit.

"We hope that these rockets will enable us to receive more reliable data about climate change," Gholamreza Ansari told a news conference at RIA Novosti.

He said Iran would orbit the nation's first satellite in the foreseeable future.

"Within the next several months, we are planning to launch a satellite called Hope," the envoy said, adding that natural disasters often happen in Iran and the Islamic Republic requires accurate environmental data.

He said any possible new UN sanctions against Iran would be counterproductive and that any issues connected with its nuclear program could only be dealt with through dialogue.

"Dialogue is the only possible path," Ansari said, adding that Iran does not intend to abandon its uranium enrichment program.

He warned that new sanctions would affect Tehran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The ambassador said Iran would continue its nuclear research program under international supervision.

"Iran's nuclear research is extensive and it will expand further," he said. "We are not setting any limitations [for research]."

Iranian media gave no details about the rocket, but some experts believe it could be an advanced version of the Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles).

Long-range ballistic missiles are generally designed to deliver nuclear weapons because their payload is too limited for conventional explosives to be efficient. They have a range of 2,500-5,000 kilometers (1,600-3,100 miles).

Iran has been involved in a long-running dispute with the West over its controversial uranium enrichment program, with two sets of UN sanctions against Tehran in effect.

The White House issued a statement on Monday calling the Iranian launch an "unfortunate" development.

Russia said it was concerned over Iran's attempts to develop a long-range ballistic missile.

"Any progress in the development of this [long-range ballistic missile] weaponry, certainly worries us and others," said Alexander Losyukov, a Russian deputy foreign minister.

However, the Iranian government has invariably claimed that the country's achievements in ballistic technology and nuclear research pose no threat to global peace and stability.

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