Morteza Barari made the announcement at a ceremony marking the National Space Technology Day, Mehr News Agency reported.
“Following the interactions between the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and Foreign Ministry in a bid to strengthen Iran’s international cooperation, and through our experts’ efforts at the Iranian Space Agency, the chairmanship of the Group of 77 at United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was handed over to Iran this week,” he said.
The COPUOS was established in 1959, with 87 active members as of 2017. Its mission is "to review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, devise programs in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters, and study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space."
Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, who also attended the ceremony, said the country’s satellite launches have never been meant for military purposes or linked with the Islamic Republic’s missile program, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Azari Jahromi said some Western states lie by saying that Iran aims to develop its missile program through launching satellites.
Two international organizations monitored Iran’s space program and confirmed that the program is meant for peaceful purposes, he added.
However, the minister said, the space program has been targeted with sanctions, which have only led to the country standing on its own feet in this area.
Earlier this week, Azari Jahromi had said that the advanced domestically made satellite, dubbed “Dousti,” is planned to be launched in the near future.
In another development, Azari Jahromi said that three researchers have died “because of a fire in one of the buildings of the Space Research Center.”
In January, the country launched a satellite, but authorities said it failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch.
Iran’s young space program has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit over the past decade, and in 2013 launched a monkey into space.
Iran has in recent years made great headway in space technology thanks to the efforts made by its local scientists.
The country successfully launched its first indigenous data-processing satellite, Omid (Hope), into orbit in February 2009.