A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with a Fregat upper stage, carrying Russian the Meteor-M spacecraft and 18 Russian and foreign additional small satellites, blasts off from a launchpad at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, February 29, 2024.

Russian Rocket Launches Iran Satellite As Rogue Regimes Strengthen Ties

Thursday, 02/29/2024

Russia has successfully launched an Iranian satellite into orbit in the latest example of growing ties between the two rogue regimes.

The launch of Pars 1 satellite on a board a Soyuz rocket taking off from the far east Amur region of Russia was announced by Islamic Republic state media on Thursday.

The satellite, weighing 134 kg (295 pounds), is equipped with three cameras which officials claim will survey Iran's topography from its orbit approximately 500 km (310 miles) above the Earth's surface.

The launch occurred at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, near the border with China and approximately 1,500 km (930 miles) away from the port of Vladivostok.

"Our current domestic launch bases do not yet have the ability of injecting satellites at the right inclination for a sun-synchronous orbit, hence our use of a Russian launch base," Iran's Information and Communications Minister, Issa Zarepour told the state TV.

The collaboration follows Russia's previous launch of Iran's Khayyam sensing satellite into orbit in 2022 from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome, indicating a growing scientific partnership between the two countries despite US sanctions.

Iran's satellite initiatives have drawn attention from Western nations, particularly regarding concerns that they may be linked to Iran's missile development program, overseen by the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

While Iran asserts that its satellite endeavors aim to enhance communication capabilities, international security experts believe that they are closely intertwined with the country's missile development efforts.

Recent US intelligence assessments suggest that Iran's satellite launches could potentially expedite the development of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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