Iran has successfully launched its first-ever military satellite into the orbit, according to a statement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps on April 22, 2020. The satellite launch comes amid heightened tensions with the United States over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran’s state TV announced that Iran’s first military satellite named ‘Noor’ was launched early in the morning on April 22 from the central desert. According to the statement, the launch was successful and the satellite has reached its orbit.
• Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed in a statement on their website that the ‘Noor’ satellite has reached its orbit and it orbiting 425 km above the earth's surface.
• Iran’s Revolutionary Guards corps stated that it had used the Qased or "Messenger" satellite carrier to launch Noor. They have, however, not divulged any details of the technology.
• The only detail they revealed was that the three-staged Qased satellite launcher used a combination of solid and liquid fuels.
• Iran’s state TV showed that the Qased satellite launcher was inscribed with a verse from the Holy Koran, which Muslims often recite while traveling. The verse reads “Glory to Him who has subjected this to us, as we could never have done it by our own efforts".
US fears coming true?
The United States has since long feared that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. However, Iran has denied US claims that such activities are a cover for its ballistic missile development. Iran has also denied ever pursuing to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran has launched its military satellite at a time when its tensions with the United States are at a high point, especially after the US killed Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani during a drone attack on January 3, 2020. Soleimani was the top military commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military. Soleimani was considered as the second most powerful person in Iran after Ayatollah Khamenei.
The US administration under President Donald Trump imposed harsh sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal that was signed to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. According to the United States, Iran has not been holding up to its part of the deal and has discreetly continued its nuclear programme. According to Trump, the 2015 nuclear deal did not include restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program.