A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with the Iranian satellite "Khayyam" blasts off from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan August 9, 2022.

Iran Satellite Launch From Russia Fuels Fears Over Moscow-Tehran Ties

Wednesday, 02/28/2024

An Iranian satellite is to be launched into space from Russia on Thursday, Tehran’s information and communications minister has announced.

The Pars 1 carries a 15-meter camera enabling it to send high-resolution images of surface locations from its orbit 500km above the earth.

The launch aboard a Soyuz rocket will raise fresh concerns about the deepening security alliance between Moscow and Tehran.

Last month, Iran announced the launch of the Sorayya satellite, utilizing the indigenous Qaem 100 satellite carrier, as part of its space program led by the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has drawn scrutiny from Western nations.

While Iran maintains that its satellite initiatives are aimed at enhancing communication capabilities, critics argue that the efforts are closely linked with the country's missile development program, both managed by the IRGC.

Announcing the launch of the Pars 1, Information and Communications Minister Issa Zarepour said according to IRNA: "The satellite will be launched by the Soyuz international launcher from Russia in line with the development of space and international interactions with various countries."

Recent US intelligence assessments suggest that such satellite launches could accelerate Iran's timeline for developing intercontinental ballistic missiles, heightening anxieties, particularly in light of Iran's advancing nuclear capabilities.

The US has consistently criticized Iran's satellite launches, citing violations of Security Council resolutions due to perceived connections with its ballistic missile program. Last September, Iran deployed the Noor-3 imaging satellite into orbit, positioned at an altitude of 450 kilometers, utilizing a Qassed launch vehicle.

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