(AP) — TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Tuesday conducted one of at least two satellite launches it plans despite criticism from the United States, but the satellite failed to reach orbit, an official said.

The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi told Iranian state television.

Jahromi said the rocket had successfully passed its first and second stages before developing problems in the third. He did not elaborate on what caused the rocket failure, but promised that Iranian scientists would continue their work.

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