Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the green light for Iran’s military to develop its space program as long as it stays on a defensive footing and has nothing to do with launching satellites or satellites into orbit.
Khamenei set that tone in his Friday sermon, when he denounced the U.S. and Israel for their “creepy” space programs and called on the Iranian people to oppose them. “The enemies want to use our scientists’ capabilities against us,” he said.
But just because America doesn’t want Iran creating satellites doesn’t mean they aren’t being developed illegally by certain Iranians who don’t care about any of that. The Iranian government has officially acknowledged at least two satellite programs: One is named Eedayoo, which is the contraction of “earth observation via extension of optical fibers,” and it consists of some 50 cameras across Iran capable of snapping photos at night or from sensitive areas like nuclear facilities or missile sites. The other is named Afif (meaning “pride”), also known as PersiaSat-1, which was launched in 2011 from China but failed shortly afterward due to a satellite malfunction. This one is made up of four identical satellites that can transmit live video feed back to earth once again through a ground station located in Semnan Province near Tehran if all of them work together properly—which isn’t very likely anyway given how expensive those
Eedayoo is a satellite program that Iran has admitted to. It consists of some 50 cameras across Iran capable of snapping photos at night or from sensitive areas like nuclear facilities or missile sites. The program was developed illegally by Iranians who don’t care about any of that because the U.S. and Israel don’t want them to do it.
Space Systems-Iranian Satellite
The satellite itself is named Afif (meaning “pride”), also known as PersiaSat-1, which was launched in 2011 from China but failed shortly afterward due to a satellite malfunction. This one is made up of four identical satellites that can transmit live video feed back to earth once again through a ground station located in Semnan Province near Tehran if all of them work together properly—which isn’t very likely anyway given how expensive those satellites are.
Why has Iran’s space program attracted so much attention?
The U.S. government is pissed off and keeping a close eye on the situation, with military and intelligence officials monitoring activity in Iran’s space program more closely than any other country’s. But that doesn’t make sense—Iran has been developing their space program for decades as well as infiltrating America’s satellites for years now; not to mention all the equipment that’s being smuggled across borders.
The U.S.’s main concern is ensuring that Iran doesn’t use its space program to launch missiles or spy on American facilities, so they are focusing a lot of their efforts on figuring out what Iran has up their sleeves.
But from a business perspective, it’s easy to see why this is such a big deal: If the Iranian government can successfully launch satellites into orbit, then they could be providing similar services like communications and internet access (for free) to people in all corners of the world—and that would have significant implications for private companies who currently rely on satellite technology, not to mention national security agencies who rely on satellite imagery and surveillance data
The U.S. and Israel are worried about Tehran’s satellite programs
More than likely, the U.S. and Israel are primarily concerned about Iran’s satellite programs because they’re a potential military threat to their country’s interests in the region. Although this is not confirmed, it does seem like Tehran is still working on developing more satellites for its space program.
Although Iran has denied doing anything wrong with its space program, the U.S. and Israel have been vocal about their concerns many times over the past year or so. Just last month, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that America will “not tolerate hostile actions by any nation in cyberspace or in space that threaten our core interests” and that it had already taken action against Russia for similar reasons back in 2014 during Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The same day, Israel’s Minister of Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman also denounced Iran’s satellite programs while discussing the crisis in Syria, which again was perceived as a response to Iran’s recent development of satellites by some analysts
Iranians are trying to establish a space infrastructure in the country
Iranian satellite program
There is a good reason why the United States and Israel are concerned over Iran’s space program. They are already working on developing an infrastructure that will allow them to launch satellites into orbit. Iran has shown interest in the idea of launching a satellite through its military, but the Iranian government wants to make sure that any satellites launched stay within their space program and don’t get used for anything illegal or military-related.
The Iranian government is currently spreading word about this new project by conducting meetings with students and professors from universities across the country and asking them to think about what they can do in order to help establish a space infrastructure and create programs which will help other countries develop one as well.
A recent article indicates that a secretive Iranian satellite program, backed by the Iranian military, is a potential threat to regional stability and U.S. interests. The article calls attention to the fact that Iran is establishing a space infrastructure in the country and says that this could be a way to project power and defend itself in the event of military conflict.