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Iran Moves Closer to Satellite Launch

Iran Moves Closer to Satellite Launch
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in the capital Tehran on December 25, 2018, as he presents his government's 2019-2020 budget. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

By Monday, 14 January 2019 12:26 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With each passing day Iran moves closer and closer towards a satellite launch.

Final tests for three separate satellites were completed in Iran this week. The satellites are now cleared for takeoff and may be launched at any time. Iranian leadership has said that they will be sending two of their satellites into space imminently.

The announcement came during a memorial program for the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the fourth elected president of Iran and one of the men instrumental in placing The Ayatollah Ali Khameni, The Supreme Leader, in position. Iran's current president, Hassan Rouhani, proudly proclaimed: "Soon, in the coming weeks, we will send two satellites into space using our domestically-made rockets."

Two of Iran's satellites are imaging satellites. That means spy satellites. The third is a telecommunications satellite. Sometimes, countries like Iran try to deceive the world and categorize these spy satellites as weather satellites. Iran has no need to go that route. At this point in the game of international rhetoric, Iran is being blunt and open. They are launching imaging satellites — satellites that take pictures as they circle the earth.

The telecom satellite is used for phones and the internet. It is just as crucial to Iran's quest for world domination as are the imaging satellites. Iran wants to remain as independent as possible and needs to be able to protect their own telecom systems against hacking and spying while, at the same time, use cutting edge technology to hack and spy on the technology of other countries.

It is common practice for countries to name their satellites. Sometimes, the names are significant, sometimes they are playful. One of the Iranian imaging satellites is named Dousti which means "friendship" in Farsi, the Persian language. The second was given the name Payam which means "message." The third satellite, the telecommunication satellite, is named Nahid -1. In Farsi, Nahid translates to mean stars or collection of stars and sometimes Venus.

Iran has been advancing quickly in space technology. In 2013 they launched a monkey into space. The plan is to build satellite technology that will culminate in a satellite system called the Pars Satellite System. The Iranians hope to have that system completed by 2024.

These satellites will stay in orbit for three years. With that decision, Iran is taking their technology to a new and greater level. Until now, dating back to the past ten years, Iranian satellites only stayed in orbit for short periods. These are longer lasting space trips, more in the image of Russia's adventures in space.

The United States is pressuring Iran to put the brakes on. During a press conference he recently held in Jordan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear that Iran needs to be contained when he said: "You'll see in the coming days and weeks we are, we're redoubling not only our diplomatic, but our commercial efforts to put real pressure on Iran to achieve what it is we set out for them back in May ... The President's decision to withdraw our folks from Syria in no way impacts our capacity to deliver on that."

The inherent dangers of satellite imagery and telecom satellites are obvious. At long last United States and other Western leadership realize that the same rockets that are used for space technology are used for the delivery of non-conventional weapons — specifically chemical, biological, and nuclear warheads.

We may not understand their language or share their dress code, but Iran is by no means a backward, backwater, uneducated society. Iranians are enormously well educated and highly cultured. They admire learning and music, poetry, art, and philosophy. They are significant contributors to world culture.

One field in which Iranians excel is the world of science. Do not underestimate Iran. Iranian leadership is smart and savvy and science minded.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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With each passing day Iran moves closer and closer towards a satellite launch.
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Monday, 14 January 2019 12:26 PM
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