Satellite images suggest Iran is preparing to launch a rocket

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) —Iran is ready to launch into space on Tuesday as satellite imagery shows a rocket on a launch pad in a rural desert, as tensions on Tehran’s nuclear program remain high. It seemed to be done.

Maxar Technologies images show the launch pad at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in the countryside of Semnan Province, Iran. This is where attempts to put satellites into orbit have failed frequently these days.

One set of images shows a transport aircraft with a rocket on board, ready to be lifted and placed in a launch tower. Images after Tuesday afternoon clearly showed that there was a rocket on top of the tower.

Iran has not acknowledged future launches at the spaceport, and its mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

However, in May, the state-owned IRNA news agency said Iran was likely ready to launch seven homemade satellites by the end of the Persian calendar year in March 2023. A fueled satellite-mounted rocket called Zuljanah.

Launching a rocket usually means an imminent launch, but it was not clear when the launch would take place. NASA’s satellites, which detect flashes from space, did not immediately see activity on the site late Tuesday night.

When asked about preparations, State Department spokesman Edward Price told reporters in Washington that the United States is urging Iran to make the situation worse.

“Iran has consistently chosen to escalate tensions. It is Iran that has consistently chosen to take provocative actions,” he said.

Pentagon spokesman Major Rob Lordwick of the U.S. Army said the U.S. Army “continues to pursue Iran’s viable space launch technology and how it relates to advances in the overall ballistic missile program. Watch carefully. “

“The invasion of Iran, including the demonstrated threats posed by various missile programs, remains of primary concern to our troops in the region,” said Lordwick.

Over the last decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and launched monkeys into space in 2013. However, the program has had problems lately. Simorgh program failed to launch 5 times in a row, A type of satellite-mounted rocket. A fire at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in February 2019 also killed three researchers, officials said.

The launch pad used in preparation for Tuesday remains damaged by the August 2019 explosion that caught the attention of then-President Donald Trump. He later tweeted what looked like a classified surveillance image of a launch failure... February satellite imagery I proposed the launch of Zuljanah, which failed earlier this year. Iran didn’t admit it.

A series of failures raised suspicions of external interference with Iran’s program, alluded to by Trump himself by tweeting when the United States was “not involved in a catastrophic accident.” However, no evidence of fraudulent play has been provided for any of the failures, and launching into space remains challenging even in the world’s most successful programs.

in the meantime, April 2020 Iran’s Paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Corps reveals its own secret space program We have succeeded in launching the satellite into orbit. Security guards launched another satellite in March this year Elsewhere in Semnan Province, just east of Tehran, the capital of Iran.

Judging by the launch pads used, Iran is probably preparing for a test launch of Zuljana, said John Kuzaniak, a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Earlier this week, Krzyzaniak suggested that the launch was imminent, based on activity on the site.

The name of the rocket, Zuljana, comes from the horse of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Iran’s state television aired footage of the successful launch of Zuljana in February 2021...

Preparing for launch Guards reportedly saw one of the soldiers “martyr” in Semnan Province over the weekend under uncertain circumstances... However, Iran’s Defense Forces Department later claimed that the man worked for it.

The United States argued that Iran’s satellite launch violated a UN Security Council resolution and urged Tehran not to engage in activities related to ballistic missiles capable of launching nuclear weapons. The U.S. intelligence agency’s 2022 threat assessment released in March stated that such satellite launch rockets used “similar technology” and would “shorten the timeline” for Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. Insist.

Iran, which has long said it did not seek nuclear weapons, previously claimed that satellite launches and rocket tests had no military component. US intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency have stated that Iran has abandoned its 2003 military nuclear program.

However, tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program have recently increased, and Iran may be ready for launch. Iran currently states that 27 IAEA surveillance cameras will be removed from the nuclear site Uranium enrichment, which is closer to the weapon-grade level than ever before, is now being carried out.

Both Iran and the United States claim they are ready to rejoin Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers whose wealth has been significantly curtailed by the Islamic republic in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2018, beginning in 2019 and today also launching a series of attacks and confrontations following President Joe Biden’s administration.

Discussions in Vienna about the reinstatement of the contract have been “suspended” since March.

Analysts say that while Tehran’s progress will make the program more dangerous, making a nuclear bomb will still take more time in Iran if it pursues weapons. Israel has threatened in the past to carry out preemptive strikes to thwart Iran — and has already been suspected of a series of recent killings targeting Iranian officials.


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