Iranian Revolutionary Guards Announce Second Satellite Launch | News, Sports, Jobs
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday they had launched a second reconnaissance satellite into space as world powers await Tehran’s decision in negotiations over its tattered nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, Iran’s top diplomat at the month-long talks suddenly returned home Monday evening for consultations, a sign of mounting pressure on Tehran as talks appear to be winding down.
The Guard said the Noor-2 satellite had reached a low orbit of 500 kilometers (310 miles) above the Earth’s surface on the Qased satellite carrier, the official IRNA news agency reported. He was describing the Qased, or “Messenger” in Farsi, as a three-phase dual-fuel satellite carrier.
“We are destined to reach space and thank God we did”, said General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Guard’s aerospace division. “Now the way is set and we certainly have to do bigger things.”
Footage shown on state television showed the rocket taking off from a truck-based launch vehicle onto a concrete slab in the Shahroud desert.
Site features shown in the images, analyzed by The Associated Press and compared with regional satellite photos, match a launch site nearly 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the town of Shahroud in the rural province from Semnan in Iran.
Authorities have already started receiving signals from the satellite as it circles the Earth every 90 minutes, IRNA said citing Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Minister Isa Zarepour.
US officials did not respond to requests for comment. The launch comes days after satellite images suggested Iran’s civilian program suffered another failed launch.
Noor means “light” in Persian. The Guard launched its first Noor satellite in 2020, revealing to the world that it runs its own space program.
The head of US Space Command later dismissed this satellite as “a webcam tumbling through space” it wouldn’t provide vital intelligence to Iran – even if it showed Tehran’s ability to successfully launch into orbit after a series of setbacks.
The United States alleged that the Iranian satellite launches defied a UN Security Council resolution and called on Tehran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The US Intelligence Community’s 2022 Threat Assessment, released on Tuesday, claims such a satellite launcher “shorten the delay” to an intercontinental ballistic missile for Iran because it uses “similar technologies”.
Iran, which has long said it does not seek nuclear weapons, has previously maintained that its satellite launches and rocket tests have no military component. US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran abandoned an organized military nuclear program in 2003.
“We continue to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking major nuclear weapons development activities that we believe are necessary to produce a nuclear device,” the 2022 U.S. Intelligence Threat Assessment said. However, if the nuclear deal falls through, “Iranian officials will likely consider further enriching uranium up to 90%” – which is a military grade level.
Meanwhile, IRNA described negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani’s return trip as “as part of the usual consultations during the talks”. The agency later said he would return to Vienna on Wednesday.
However, the European Union’s chief negotiator appeared to suggest that the success or failure of the talks now lay with the Islamic Republic.
“There are no more ‘expert-level discussions’. Neither “formal meetings” ” Enrique Mora wrote on Twitter, responding to comments from an Iranian analyst. “It is time, in the next few days, for political decisions to put an end to (hashtag)ViennaTalks. The rest is noise.
Mora’s comments mirror those of British and French negotiators at the Vienna talks, who were looking for a way to bring America back to the deal it unilaterally abandoned in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump. The talks also hope to get Iran to agree again to measures that drastically reduce its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
They also appear to be pushing back against a consistent Iranian refrain over the past few weeks of talks that tried to blame any delays on America, which hasn’t been in the room for the talks since Trump pulled out. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that he believed “we are close” about reaching an agreement, even if there were “some very difficult remaining problems.”
The final wrinkle, however, is a demand Saturday from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Blinken offer written guarantees about Moscow’s ability to continue its trade with Iran as it faces sanctions for its war on Iran. Ukraine.