Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Iran Launches Its Own Satellite

 Iran announced that it had launched a domestically built satellite into orbit for the first time on Tuesday (February 3, 2009). Called Omid (meaning “Hope”), the satellite demonstrates the long-range ballistic technology that Iran has at its disposal. In other words, if a satellite can be put into orbit, so can a warhead. While Iran publically states it has no intention of doing so, the West doesn't believe them.

Quoting a statement from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from a televised statement, “Dear Iranian nation, your children have placed the first indigenous satellite into orbit.” Iranian state television showed footage of a rocket blasting off and lighting up the night. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also added the following: “With God's help and the desire for justice and peace, the official presence of the Islamic Republic was registered in space.” The television broadcast said that the Omid would return to earth with data after orbiting for one to three months. Omid joins another Iranian satellite in orbit. Called the Sina-1, it was launched by a Russian rocket in 2005.

Political analysts state that by sending the “Omid” into space is a message to the rest of the world that Iran is “very powerful” and you have to deal with them in the correct manner. Officials from six of the world powers (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, and China) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the nuclear issue with Iran. It will be their first meeting since President Barack Obama took office. President Obama in the past stated that he will pursue direct talks with Tehran – but that also warned the Tehran government to expect more pressure if it(Iran) does not meet the U.N. Security Council demand to halt atomic work the West fears has military aims.

The Reuters article reported that Andrew Brookes of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a think-tank located in London, said the news would prompt concern in Israel and elsewhere in the region. “They will think that this civilian capability will soon be transformed to a military reconnaissance and intelligence gathering capability.

Former head of the Israel Space Agency, Isaac Ben-Israel, told Reuters reporters in Jerusalem: “If they managed to fire a satellite into space it means they can also reach Western Europe.” Speaking with Tal Inbar of the Space Research Center at Israel's think-tank (the Fisher Brothers Institute), said that Iran was only the ninth country in the world capable of both producing a satellite and sending it into space from a domestically made launcher. “We should regard this satellite as the “Iran Sputnik” he stated on Israeli radio. Israel joined the club in 1988 and now Iran has follow suit in 2009 – 21 years later. “The main value is ... propaganda.” he said.

Iran is still under both U.N. And U.S. Sanctions because of suspicions about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Iran keeps stating that it's nuclear plans are for domestic power generating needs. Iranian technology is mostly modifications of other equipment supplied by other nations such as China, North Korea, etc.


Ref. From Reuters.com, an artilce by Fredrik Dahl and Parisa Hafezi (Tehran) (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5120NN20090203 )

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