The launch of an Iranian satellite into orbit by Russia is expected to take place on Tuesday, but Tehran has dismissed concerns that Moscow would exploit the spacecraft in its conflict with Ukraine.
Iran has made efforts to dispel the widespread belief that Moscow may be able to strengthen its surveillance capabilities over military sites in Ukraine by using Khayyam.
The week before last, a newspaper in the United States called The Washington Post cited unidentified Western intelligence sources as claiming that Russia “plans to utilise the satellite for many months or longer” to support Russia’s war operations before enabling Iran to assume control of the satellite.
The Iranian Space Agency, on the other hand, said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic of Iran will oversee the Khayyam satellite “from day one.”
Because of the “encrypted algorithm,” the report said that “no third nation is able to access the information” that was sent by the satellite.
According to the space agency, the objective of the Khayyam satellite is to “watch the country’s borders,” increase agricultural output, monitor water resources and natural catastrophes, and strengthen natural disaster preparedness.
Last week, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that a Soyuz-2.1b rocket will be responsible for placing Khayyam into orbit.
As Moscow’s international isolation grows under the weight of Western sanctions over Ukraine, Putin is seeking to pivot Russia towards the Middle East, Asia, and Africa in an effort to find new clients for the country’s troubled space programme. This comes as Moscow’s international isolation grows under the weight of Western sanctions over Ukraine.
It is believed that Omar Khayyam, a Persian polymath who lived in the 11th century, was the inspiration for the name “Khayyam.” This will not be the first Iranian satellite that Russia has launched into space; in 2005, Iran’s Sina-1 satellite was launched into space from Russia’s Plesetsk cosmodrome.
Iran is presently engaged in negotiations with foreign countries, including Moscow, in an effort to save an agreement reached in 2015 that was intended to limit Tehran’s nuclear aspirations.
Iran has been accused by the United States of effectively supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine while adopting a “veil of neutrality.” This accusation comes after the United States withdrew from the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA in 2018, when it was led by then-president Donald Trump.
Khamenei asked for “long-term collaboration” with Russia during his meeting with Putin a month ago, and Tehran has declined to join international criticism of Moscow’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour since then. Khamenei’s request came during the meeting.
Iran maintains that the only objective of its space programme is for peaceful and defensive reasons, and that it does not violate the nuclear deal that was reached in 2015 or any other international accord.
The countries of the Western world are concerned because satellite launch systems integrate technology that are interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles that are capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Iran has always denied seeking to create such missiles.
The United States issued a stern reprimand to Iran in April 2020 after the Islamic Republic successfully launched its first military satellite into space.