Russia says it is providing Iran with advanced spy satellite to monitor military targets
“It’s not the best in the world, but it’s high resolution and very good for military purposes,” the Middle East official told the Post. “This capability will allow Iran to maintain an accurate target bank and update that target bank within hours” every day.
The official also said Iran would be able to share the footage with its terrorist proxies in the region, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and militias operating in Iraq.
The report comes as the United States is involved in indirect talks with Tehran to reinstate the Iran nuclear deal, and ahead of a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
In the past, the United States and Israel have condemned Iran’s satellite efforts as defying a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Iran, which has long said it was not looking for nuclear weapons, had previously maintained its satellite launches and its rocket tests lacked a military component. The guard launching its own satellite calls this into question.
Russia has also defended Iran’s right to launch satellites.
Months after the launch of the Noor, Russia defended Iran’s right to launch a satellite, rejecting US claims that Tehran defied the UN resolution approving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six great powers by sending it into space.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said that “the ongoing attempts by the US side to deny Iran the right to reap the benefits of peaceful space technology under false pretenses are a source of serious concern. concern and deep regret “.
Iran has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent years. A fire at the Imam Khomeini space center in February 2019 killed three researchers, authorities said at the time.
A rocket explosion last August even caught the attention of then-US President Donald Trump, who tweeted what appeared to be a classified surveillance image of the failed launch. Successive failures have raised suspicions of outside interference in the Iranian program, which Trump himself hinted at when he tweeted at the time that the United States “was not involved in the catastrophic accident.”
Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched an ape into space.
Experts told the Post that Iran had previously managed to acquire high-resolution images by purchasing them from commercial satellite companies, however, their ability to obtain real-time data on potential military targets was limited.
“A national capability to take these photos is something the military wants, because it’s precious to them,” Jeffrey Lewis, non-proliferation expert and professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, told The Post, in California. He added that the acquisition of Russian technology would essentially allow the Iranians to access a capability they would have acquired on their own more quickly, with sufficient time.
“Is the Iranian army happy? Yes it is, and it is a real change, ”said Lewis. “But it was going to happen sooner or later.”