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  12 Aug 2022, 16:49

Iran seeks 3 more Khayyam satellites

TEHRAN, Aug 12, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Iran plans to commission three more versions 
of a satellite launched this week by Russia, Tehran's government spokesman 
said Friday.

The Khayyam blasted into orbit on Tuesday, prompting US accusations that it 
is intended for spying. Iran dismissed Washington's claim as "childish."

"The construction of three other Khayyam satellites with the participation of 
Iranian scientists is on the government's agenda," its spokesman Ali 
Bahadori-Jahromi said on Twitter.

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket sent the satellite into orbit from the Moscow-controlled 
Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Responding to the launch, Washington said Russia's growing cooperation with 
Iran should be viewed as a "profound threat", but the head of Iran's Space 
Agency, Hassan Salarieh, dismissed the accusation.

He said the Khayyam is designed to meet Iran's needs for "crisis and urban 
management, natural resources, mines, agriculture and so on."

The Khayyam was built by the Russians under Iran's supervision, Salarieh said 
at a press conference on Wednesday.

Ahead of the launch, The Washington Post quoted anonymous Western 
intelligence officials as saying that Russia "plans to use the satellite for 
several months or longer" to assist its war effort before allowing Iran to 
take control.

Iran's space agency stressed on Sunday that it would control the satellite 
"from day one", in an apparent reaction to the Post's report.

Khayyam, apparently named after the 11th-century Persian polymath Omar 
Khayyam, will not be the first Iranian satellite that Russia has put into 
space. 

In 2005, Iran's Sina-1 satellite was deployed from Russia's Plesetsk 
Cosmodrome.

The new satellite launch came a day after the European Union submitted a 
"final text" at talks to salvage a 2015 deal aimed at reining in Iran's 
nuclear ambitions, and which Tehran said it was reviewing.

The United States has accused Iran of effectively supporting Russia's war 
against Ukraine while adopting a "veil of neutrality".

Iran insists its space programme is for civilian and defence purposes only, 
and does not breach the 2015 nuclear deal, or any other international 
agreement. 

Western governments worry that satellite launch systems incorporate 
technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of 
delivering a nuclear warhead, something Iran has always denied wanting to 
build.

 


 

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