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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Russia to Launch Iranian Spy Satellites

Acocrding to Kommersant here,
But the signing of he agreement on Zohrah launch was just a screen for a more serious bargain. As Kommersant learned, Prime Minister Fradkov signed the order to let Ministry of Defense to launch two Iranian satellites Mesbah and Sinah-1 to the near-earth orbit, carried by a light carrier Kosmos-3M from Plesetsk space-vehicle launching site in the second quarter of 2005. The document also gives foreign experts the access to the ministry of Defense objects situated on the site, where all the works connected with the launch will be done.

It’s remarkable that at first Iran was planning to use a foreign carrier only for the launch of Mesbah херун were negotiating not only with Moscow, but with Peking also] and to launch the Sinah-1 with their own carrier. They were creating it in the framework of the Shihab national rocket program. And as far s Kommersant s informed the last launch was supposed to be done in April or May 2005 from Iranian site. But Moscow managed to change Teheran’s mind. The launch could have led to an open armed confrontation of Iran and the USA....
More details from Missile (scroll down)
In January of 2004, Iran declared that within the next 18 months it would launch a satellite into orbit using its own rocket systems and doing so from its own territory, becoming the first Islamic state to do so. Recently, however, reports the Russian Kommersant, Iran has signed an agreement with Russia which will permit it to launch two satellites, named Mesbah and Sinah-1, from the Russian Plesetsk launching site. According to the Russian newspaper, Moscow persuaded Iran to do so to avoid a harsh American reaction. Both are said to be spy satellites. The Mesbah satellite is said to orbit at 900km. The Sinah-1 is said to weight some 20 kg. Other sources also refer to cooperation on a Zohreh telecommunications satellite, but Kommersant claims this project may have been a diversion...

If one gathers nothing else from this and other news of similar proliferation and military ties, it should be that Russia and China both continue to project power into the middle east, and are specifically interested in making Iran a strategic ally. Both countries do so in order to counter American force. Neither country is a friend, or ally, of the United States. Both are rather strategic competitors. Any attempt to confront the Iranian regime, its sponsorship of terrorism, its nuclear and other WMD programs, and its ballistic missile programs, would be strongly opposed by both countries.

This can't be good news, but is not really surprising...

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