(CNN) -- Iran said Wednesday it had launched a rocket carrying a rodent, two turtles and some worms into orbit, claiming it as a successful advance in a space program that has raised international concerns.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency said the "home-built" Kavoshgar-3, or Explorer-3 rocket was launched at a ceremony to commemorate this month's anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew Iran's monarchy.
Iran, which is trying to contain a political crisis after violent protests erupted following the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is expected to mount a series of high profile events to mark the anniversary.
State-run Press TV quoted Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi declaring the launch a success and describing Iran's space program as "peaceful."
"Iran will not tolerate any un-peaceful use [of space] by
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