Sun. Sep 25th, 2022
ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN — Russia is scheduled to launch an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday, but Tehran dismissed fears Moscow could use it in the war against Ukraine.
from Iran”KhayyamThe satellite is scheduled to lift off from the Moscow-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 05:52. GMTthree weeks after Russian President Vladimir putin met with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
Iran has tried to deflect suspicions that Moscow might use Khayyam to enhance its surveillance of military targets in Ukraine.
Last week, the American newspaper The Washington Post It quoted unnamed Western intelligence officials as saying that Russia “plans to use the satellite for several months or more” to help its war efforts before allowing Iran to take control.
But Iran’s Space Agency said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic would control the Khayyam satellite “from day one.”
“No third country can access the information” sent by the satellite due to its “encrypted algorithm,” he said.
Khayyam’s purpose is to “monitor the country’s borders,” improve agricultural productivity, and monitor water resources and natural disasters, the space agency said.
Khayyam is being launched into orbit by a Soyuz-2.1b rocket, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said last week.
As Moscow’s international isolation grows under the weight of Western sanctions on Ukraine, Putin is seeking to steer Russia toward the Middle East, Asia and Africa and find new clients for the country’s beleaguered space program.
Khayyam, apparently named for the 11th-century Persian scholar Omar Khayyam, will not be the first Iranian satellite Russia has put into space: In 2005, Iran’s Sina-1 satellite was deployed from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
Iran is currently negotiating with world powers, including Moscow, to salvage a 2015 deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The United States, which abandoned the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA under then-President Donald Trump in 2018, has accused Iran of effectively supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine while adopting a “veil of neutrality.”
During his meeting with Putin last month, Iran’s Khamenei called for “long-term cooperation” with Russia, and Tehran has refused to join international condemnation of Moscow’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbor.
Iran insists that its space program is for civilian and defense purposes only, and does not violate the 2015 nuclear deal or any other international agreement.
Western governments are concerned that satellite launch systems incorporate technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, something Iran has always denied wanting to build.
Iran successfully launched its first military satellite into orbit in April 2020, drawing a sharp rebuke from the United States.