Russia Launches Iranian Satellite Into Space

Lines are being drawn in the Middle Eastern sand, particularly around Iran. Only three weeks after Russia and the rogue state declared closer ties to stand against the West, the Kremlin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit.

It is named the Khayyam satellite after Persian poet and iconic philosopher Omar Khayyam. The Islamic Republic had been beset by several failed launch attempts in recent years. But not this time.

And officials in Washington and Kyiv are worried.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei agreed on cooperation against Western powers. Many see this as a direct pledge to join intelligence forces together to aid in Moscow’s military invasion of Ukraine.

Not so, says Tehran, which declared that Iran has full control of the mission and intelligence gathering capabilities of the orbiting craft. Perhaps, but there’s nothing in that statement that precludes their providing valuable data to Russia for use by its invading forces against Kyiv.

Iran further claims the satellite will be simply a tool for monitoring the environment. And, of course, the whole world knows how much that oil-producing region cares about climate change.

Its high-resolution camera, the Islamic Republic asserts, is on board merely to support agricultural projects and keep a sharp eye on water resources.

For their part, U.S. officials are far from buying Tehran’s narrative.

Unnamed sources told the Washington Post that the U.S. government believes the satellite may be valuable for monitoring troop movements in Ukraine. They feared Moscow and Tehran would have virtually “unprecedented capabilities” for surveillance in the war-torn country.

Iran says it has already received data from its newly launched spacecraft.

The two nations share a common predicament — both are under severe Western sanctions. Russia of course is under immense economic and diplomatic pressure over its invasion of Ukraine. And Iran faces a “final text” resolution from the EU concerning its nuclear program.

No one in the West believes the Khayyam satellite is merely in space to keep an eye on Iranian agriculture and water supplies. And as for the obviously strengthening ties between Tehran and Moscow, this bears close observance for both Washington and a nervous Middle East.