TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The Iranian minister of information and communications technology said the country plans to launch three satellites into orbit this year despite US pressures.

Tehran would stick to its plans to launch three satellites this year, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi told Reuters in Geneva on Tuesday.

“The rockets which have currently been developed in Iran for carrying satellites are not something that are a cover for another kind of rocket activity,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in the Swiss city on Tuesday.

“Because if Iran wants to have missile activity, it’s something that it is doing openly. It’s not something that is hidden. It’s part of our right to defense,” the minister added.

Azari Jahromi stressed that Iran’s satellite program is intended for peaceful purposes such as helping manage water resources and protect the environment.

Earlier in the day, President of Iran’s Space Research Center, Hossein Samimi, said Nahid-1 and Nahid-2 telecommunication satellites besides Pars-1 remote sensing satellite would be ready for launch by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2020).

Iran’s satellite launches come despite threats by the United States that argues such launches ran counter to the 2015 nuclear deal between and world powers as well as the relevant UN Security Council resolution that endorsed it.