War in Ukraine, live: Russia launches Iranian remote sensing satellites, US fears military action

War in Ukraine, live: Russia launches Iranian remote sensing satellites, US fears military action


Russia is launching an Iranian satellite amid fears it will use it to support its offensive in Ukraine

Russia on Tuesday launched an Iranian observation satellite from Kazakhstan amid Western concerns Moscow is using it to support its offensive in Ukraine, which Tehran denies.

The Khayyam remote sensing satellite was launched by a Soyuz rocket from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome at 7:52 a.m. French time, according to images transmitted live by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, before it was launched.

According to the Iranian Space Agency, their main purpose is to “monitor the country’s borders”, improve agricultural productivity, control water resources and natural disasters. For the United States, Iran’s space program is for military rather than commercial purposes, while Tehran claims its aerospace activities are peaceful and in line with a United Nations Security Council resolution.

This time, however, Iranian authorities have had to defend themselves against allegations of a different nature after the American daily The Washington Post reported that Russia plans to use the satellite as part of its offensive in Ukraine for “several months” before handing it over to Iran, according to unnamed sources.

“All orders related to the control and operation of this satellite will be issued by Iranian experts based at the Iranian Communications Ministry from day one and immediately after launch,” the Iranian Space Agency said in a statement Sunday. “No third country can access the data sent by the satellite using an ‘encryption algorithm’,” she assured, denouncing the American newspaper’s “false” claims.