Russia puts Iranian satellite into orbit
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[August 09, 2022]
MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia
launched an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday from southern
Kazakhstan, just three weeks after President Vladimir Putin and Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West.
The remote Khayyam sensing satellite, named after the 11th Century
Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam, was launched by a Russian
Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and entered
orbit successfully, Russia's space agency said.
Iran's space agency has received the first telemetry data sent from the
satellite, the official IRNA news agency said.
Tehran has rejected claims the satellite could be used by Moscow to
boost its intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, saying Iran will have
full control and operation over it "from day one."
The Washington Post reported last week that U.S. officials are concerned
by the fledgling space cooperation between Russia and Iran, fearing the
satellite will not only help Russia in Ukraine but also provide Iran
"unprecedented capabilities" to monitor potential military targets in
Israel and the wider middle east.
Iran says the satellite is designed for scientific research including
radiation and environmental monitoring for agricultural purposes.
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A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with the Iranian satellite "Khayyam"
blasts off from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
August 9, 2022, in this still image taken from video. Roscosmos/Handout
Russia has sought to deepen its ties with Iran since Feb. 24, when
the Kremlin ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine,
prompting the United States and its allies to impose the most severe
sanctions in recent history.
In July, Putin visited Iran in his first international trip outside
the former Soviet Union since the start of Russia's military
campaign in Ukraine.
While there, Khamenei told Putin that Tehran and Moscow needed to
stay vigilant against "Western deception".
Space has been one field where the United States and Russia have
traditionally maintained cooperation and strong ties despite
geopolitical tensions between Moscow and Washington.
Roscosmos and NASA recently inked a deal to carry each other's
astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), but Moscow has
made noises about quitting the ISS at some stage in the future.
Putin recently removed the outspoken Dmitry Rogozin as head of
Roscosmos, replacing him with a former defence advisor in a shake-up
of the agency.
(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
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