by: Kate Norman
Thursday, 11 August 2022 | Russia successfully launched an Iranian satellite into orbit Tuesday morning from a Russian spaceport in Kazakhstan.
The satellite, named Khayyam after 11-century Persian polymath Omar Khayyam, was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket and was in orbit nine minutes after it was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The launch is the “beginning of strategic cooperation between Iran and Russia in the space industry,” said Iran’s minister of communication and information technology, Eesa Zarepoor, who was present at the launch, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported.
High-resolution images taken by the satellite will be used for Iran’s environmental and agricultural sectors, Zarepoor said.
Washington and Jerusalem disagree.
The Associated Press reported last week that Iran will be able to wield the satellite to monitor Israel as well as the rest of the Middle East.
The West also fears that Russia will use the satellite to spy on Ukraine amid Moscow’s ongoing invasion of its neighbor, according to the Associated Press report, which was republished by the Washington Post.
The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) responded to the allegation in a statement on August 7 in which the ISA said the satellite will be controlled and operated by Iranian experts from Iranian bases.
“No third country is able to access the information” from the satellite, the ISA said, as quoted by Tasnim, calling the Western allegations “untrue.”
Even if the Iranian claims are true that Russia will not be using the satellite in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Tehran did not counter the claim that it will be used against its archenemy, the Jewish state.
The satellite “is a real breakthrough,” Tal Inbar of the US-based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance told the New York Times. “For the first time, an Iranian owns and operates a satellite with a high imaging resolution, much better than they had until now.
The high-image resolution images from the satellite will provide Tehran with “much more accurate intelligence information for military operations of their forces as well as for the organizations they support,” Inbar added.
Organizations that Iran supports in the region include Hezbollah, the terror army based in Lebanon, as well as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.
“This is a significant narrowing of the technological gap between Iran and Israel and the United States,” Inbar warned.
The satellite launch comes just under a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, as well as Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini. It was Putin’s first international trip since his invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, and was intended to strengthen ties between the two severely Western-sanctioned nations.
A day before Moscow announced Putin’s trip, the White House said the Iranian government was preparing to equip Russia with several hundred drones for use in its invasion of Ukraine.
Posted on August 11, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 11, 2022)
Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
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