Iran has been conducting its last preparations before releasing a satellite into orbit from the Imam Khomenei Spaceport in northern Iran, an Israeli satellite-intelligence firm said Monday, citing fresh photographic evidence of the area.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced earlier this month that the regime would be launching two satellites into space “using our domestically made rockets” within the coming weeks.
ImageSat International, an Israeli satellite-intelligence firm, said that the planned launch is imminent: “ISI satellite-imagery reveals that the launch preparation process is in its final stages.”
Israel and United States are concerned about Iran using its space initiative to advance its ballistic-missile program.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned weeks ago about the Islamic Republic activating space-launch vehicles, which officials and experts contend is a cover for the regime’s ballistic-missile ambitions.
Pompeo said that such a launch would violate U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which adopted the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “It calls upon the Iranian regime not to undertake any activity related to ballistic-missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” he said.
“This action includes launching SLVs, which incorporate technology that is virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles, including in intercontinental ballistic-missiles [ICBMs],” he continued. “An ICBM with a range of 10,000 kilometers could reach the United States.”
“The United States has continuously cautioned that ballistic missile and SLV launches by the Iranian regime have a destabilizing effect on the region and beyond,” he added. “France, Germany, the United Kingdom and many nations from around the world have also expressed deep concern.”