Russia Launching an Iranian Satellite into Space Raises the Eyebrows of Western Stakeholders

  • By: Ahmed Khan
  • Date: August 9, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Iran and Russia enter a new space cooperation era as the Russian rocket, Soyuz, sends an Iranian satellite into space from a Kazakhstan base. A booster rocket containing an Iranian Satellite, Khayyam, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome of Kazakhstan, which is considered home to Russia’s space launches.

Iranian state television aired the live footage of the satellite, which will be used for non-military purposes, according to the Islamic Republic.

The Washington Post has previously asserted that Russia is aiming to use the Iranian satellite “for months or longer” to facilitate its war against Ukraine. However, Iranian Space Agency (ISA) rejected these claims, stating that only Iran will have control of the satellite “from day one.” According to the ISA, only Iranian engineers and scientists will be allowed to access the encrypted information of the satellite, and “no other country” can see this data.

Similarly, Iran will also use the images coming from Khayyam to boost its “managing and planning capability” of different industries, including agriculture, water management, environment, mining, border monitoring, and natural disaster management, as per the Iranian space agency.

While standing in front of the rocket at the launching site, Iran’s Minister of Internet and Communications Technology, Issa Zarepour, stated that this launch would kick off a new era of space cooperation between Russia and Iran.

Iran’s state-owned media outlet, IRNA, revealed that the Islamic nation has the capability to launch remote-sensing satellites with image resolution as good as 5-10 meters. Furthermore, these satellites can also carry nearly 50 kgs of packages into space orbits, according to the IRNA. But the recently launched Russian-aided satellite is made with much more sophisticated technology than the one described by the Iranian media. With an image resolution of almost 1 meter, this satellite weighs more than 600 kgs, and it is operating in a 500 km orbit. This cutting-edge technology of the Iranian satellite is creating speculations among political analysts, who think that Russia might have helped Iran in designing this satellite.

Reportedly, western nations, particularly America, are concerned about Russia-Iran space cooperation. The US believes that Russia will use Iran’s satellite to gather intelligence in Ukraine, while Iran will use it to spy on Israel and its other middle eastern strategic opponents.

But Iran has claimed that it is maintaining a separate space program for its military purposes. Till now, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) of Iran has officially launched two satellites into space. Amirali Hajizadeh, the aerospace chief of IRGC, has established that the Iranian military is aiming to launch another satellite into space before next March.

This space operation comes at a time when the western nations are already worried about Iran’s controversial nuclear program. As the Biden administration has failed to restore the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran, the Islamic Republic is reportedly closing in on making a nuclear weapon. Some studies have established that Iran is enriching Uranium at a pace with which it will be able to acquire multiple nuclear bombs in a span of some weeks.

Ahmed Khan

Ahmed Khan

Political Reporter

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