Images indicate Iran may be planning another satellite launch

Iran attempted two satellite launches this year: once in January and again in February. Both attempts failed.

August 19, 2019 11:30
1 minute read.
Iran rocket launch

Rocket launch in Iran. (photo credit: FARS)

Satellite imagery appears to show that Iran may be planning another attempt to launch a satellite into orbit, after two failed launch attempts this year, according to Al Arabiya.

The satellite imagery of the Imam Khomeini Space Center shows increased activity at the site in August, following a recent official statement which said that a satellite will soon be delivered to the Islamic Republic's defense ministry,  implying that a launch attempt may occur soon take place. In general, Iran announces such launches after they have already ocurred.

The Imam Kohmeini  Space Center is usually "quite quiet," according to Fabian Heinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. "It's very likely that something is going on," said Heinz.

Images of a launch pad seem to indicate that the site is being prepared for a launch, according to Heinz.

In April, Iranian Telecoms Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahrom announced that the Islamic Republic plans to launch three satellites and denied a US accusation that such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development.

"Because if Iran wants to have missile activity it’s something that it is doing openly," said Jahromi. "It’s not something that is hidden. It’s part of our right to defense."

Azari Jahromi said that the satellite program is intended for peaceful purposes, such has helping manage water resources and protecting the environment.

Iran previously attempted two satellite launches this year: once in January and again in February. Both attempts failed.

Both Israel and the US have expressed their concerns about the satellite launching attempts, with Washington alleging that such actions defy a UN Security Council resolution which calls on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently advised Iran “to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles, in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation.”
Ilanit Chernik and Reuters contributed to this report.

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