Published On: Tue, Aug 27th, 2019

Iran news: Tehran preparing for rocket launch as US warns of space risk | World | News

A satellite image taken by the commercial company Planet shows a previously debris-filled launch pad now splashed with blue paint. The land was barren when ariel photographs were taken on April 29, but when fast forwarded to August 24, considerable amounts of work can be seen to have been completed.

The site, at the Imam Khomeini Space Center, had been covered with a scar, potentially as a result of flash floods from the previous spring, NPC reports.

Dave Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, confirmed the reports, he said: “The Iranians have finished clearing off the pad, and they painted over the previous launch scar.”

Other recent imagery in the area has shown vehicle activity at a location where Iran assembles its rockets.

Mr Schmerler said that this was a clear sign of that something was imminent, he said: “We’re getting close to a launch, but exactly when that will happen I can’t tell you.”

Iran is apparently preparing for a space launch

Iran is apparently preparing for a space launch (Image: GETTY)

The US has warned about Iran's ballistic programme

The US has warned about Iran’s ballistic programme (Image: GETTY)

The news comes as Iran’s press reported that the Government has three satellites that could be ready for launch by the end of March 2020.

And, a recent report from August suggests that one of the satellites, a communications satellite intended to relay television, radio and telephone signals, is ready for launch now.

If a launch does take place, it will be Iran’s third attempt to send a satellite into space, with launch attempts in January and February both ending in failure.

The rocket that was launched in February, known as Safir, flew for a while before failing – the fifth Safir rocket to fail since its first launch in 2008.

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Russia sold Iran S-300 missiles in 2016

Russia sold Iran S-300 missiles in 2016 (Image: GETTY)

The Trump administration soon to brought attention to the potential danger of Iran attempting to launch satellites into space.

It said that the space rockets also acted as signs that Iran’s ballistic missile programme was advancing.

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, said: “Such vehicles incorporate technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

Last week, Iran unveiled a domestically built mobile surface-to-air defence system.


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Iran and Russia have enjoyed good relations

Iran and Russia have enjoyed good relations (Image: GETTY)

Suspected Iranian missiles in Saudi Arabia

Suspected Iranian missiles in Saudi Arabia (Image: GETTY)

State media reported the Bavar-373 long-range missile defense system was similar to Russia’s S-300.

Development of the Bavar-373 began in 2010 after international sanctions restricted the sale of the S-300.

When the sanctions were lifted in 2016, Russia immediately shipped the S-300 to Iran, much to the dismay of world leaders.

US fears aren’t unfounded, as in June, Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone with a surface-to-air missile, almost setting off military conflict with the United States.

Iran justified the downing of the drone by claiming it was in its airspace, though Washington was quick to deny any violation of Iran’s airspace.

The US has more firepower than Iran

The US has more firepower than Iran (Image: Express Newspapers)

This, along with Iran announcing that it doesn’t seek to renegotiate its current ballistic missile programme on Sunday, makes for an environment of escalated tensions.

Although, Independent analysts and Mr Schermler are quick to dismiss claims that the US and Iran may go head to head.

They say there is an unclear connection between Iran’s liquid-fueler space rockets and its missile activities.

Iran claims its missile programme is peaceful

Iran claims its missile programme is peaceful (Image: GETTY)

Iran has always insisted its nuclear programme is peaceful, but suspicions it was being used as a cover to develop a nuclear bomb prompted the UN Security Council, US and EU to impose sanctions on the country in 2010.

In 2015, Iran reached a deal with the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany that saw it agree to limit its nuclear actives in order to have to sanctions lifted.

However, in May 2018, Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement – a move Iran responded to by suspending some commitments agreed in the deal.

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