Russia to launch Iranian satellite amid Ukraine war concerns

ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN: Russia was scheduled to launch an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday, but Tehran has denied concerns that Moscow could use it in the war against Ukraine.
Of Iran”Khayyam“satellite is scheduled to take off from the Moscow-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0552 GMTthree weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
Iran sought to allay suspicions that Moscow could use Khayyam to improve surveillance of military targets in Ukraine.
Last week, the US daily The Washington Post citing unnamed Western intelligence officials as saying that Russia “plans to use the satellite for several months or so” to support its war efforts before allowing Iran to take control. .
But the Iranian Space Agency on Sunday said the Islamic republic would control the Khayyam satellite “from day one.”
“No third country can access the information” sent by the satellite due to the “encrypted algorithm,” it 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.
Last week, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said Khayyam was being put into orbit on a Soyuz-2.1b rocket.
As Moscow’s international isolation grows under the weight of Western sanctions on Ukraine, Putin is looking to pivot Russia to the Middle East, Asia and Africa and find new clients. for the country’s cohesive space program.
Khayyam, apparently named after 11th-century Persian polymath Omar Khayyam, will not be the first Iranian satellite Russia has sent into space – in 2005, the Iranian satellite Sina-1 was deployed. from the Russian Plesetsk cosmodrome.
Iran is currently in talks with world powers, including Moscow, to save a 2015 deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
United States – abandoned the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA under then-president Donald Trump in 2018 – accused Iran of effectively supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine while applying a “veil of neutrality”.
During a meeting with Putin last month, Iran’s Khamenei called for “long-term cooperation” with Russia, and Tehran refused to join the international condemnation of Moscow’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.
Iran insists its space program is for civilian and defense purposes only and does not violate the 2015 nuclear agreement or any other international agreement.
Western governments fear that the satellite launch system incorporates technologies that could be substituted for those used in ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, something Iran has always refused to want. make.
Iran successfully put its first military satellite into orbit in April 2020, facing harsh criticism from the United States.

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