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Source: Al-Jazeera

Feb 29, 2024

Iran launches ‘domestically developed’ imaging satellite from Russia

The launch of Pars 1 is fourth this year, with West accusing Iran of plans to use tech for military purposes

Russia has launched an Iranian-made research satellite into orbit amid rising tensions with the West.

The Pars 1 remote sensing and imaging satellite was launched on Thursday by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome and will scan Iran’s topography from an orbit of 310 miles (500km), according to the official IRNA news agency.

Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Issa Zarepour said Pars-I was “fully domestically developed”.

Iran claimed it had simultaneously launched three satellites into orbit in January using its own rocket, nearly a week after the launch of a research satellite by its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Western governments, including the United States, have repeatedly warned Iran against such launches, saying the same technology can be used for ballistic missiles, including ones designed to deliver a nuclear warhead.

Iran, under sanctions from the United States since the latter’s withdrawal in 2018 from a landmark nuclear deal, which granted Tehran relief in return for curbs on its nuclear activities, has countered that it is not seeking nuclear weapons and that its satellite and rocket launches are for civil or defence purposes only.

In August 2022, Russia launched Iran’s remote-sensing Khayyam satellite into orbit from Kazakhstan, reflecting deeper scientific cooperation between the two countries, but also sparking controversy that Moscow might use it to boost its surveillance of military targets in its war in Ukraine.

Moscow has sought to strengthen its alliances with other countries ostracised by the West, including Iran, which has been accused of supplying Moscow with armed drones for its offensive in Ukraine.

This month, the US said it would soon impose new sanctions on Iran over its backing for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tehran denies the allegations.

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