[FPSPACE] Tehran aims for satellite launch

Simon Mansfield simon@spacedaily.com
Tue, 06 Jan 2004 09:01:20 +1100

- Iran to launch satellite with own rocket within 18 months

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- Iran to launch satellite with own rocket within 18 months

TEHRAN (AFP) Jan 05, 2004 - Iran's defence minister said Monday that the 
Islamic republic would put its own satellite into orbit with an 
Iranian-made launch system within 18 months, the official news agency IRNA 

"Within 18 months Iran will launch its own satellite. Iran will be the 
first Islamic country to enter the stratosphere with its own satellite and 
its own, indigenous launch system," Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani was 
quoted as saying.

"The aerospace capacity of the Islamic republic is one of the main means of 
deterrence for the country, and is acquired through cooperation between the 
defence industries and universities," he added.

The minister did not say what type of satellite would be launched.

"There was a time when the Persian Gulf was a source of threats against the 
Islamic republic, but today with the power we have obtained this region can 
no longer be used against us by any non-regional power," IRNA quoted him as 

Shamkhani's comments are believed to be the first time a senior Iranian 
official has put a timescale on the country's space programme, and his 
comments could spark fresh alarm over the extent of the Islamic republic's 
ballistic missile capability.

Tehran finalised its testing of the Shahab-3 missile in June 2003. The 
missile is thought to be capable of carrying a 1,000 kilogramme (one-tonne) 
warhead at least 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) -- therefore bringing 
arch-enemy Israel within range.

Six Shahab-3 missiles were paraded in Tehran in September during the 
festivities marking the outbreak of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and one of 
them carried a banner declaring "We will wipe Israel from the map".

The Shahab-3 is believed to be derived from technology acquired from North 
Korea and Pakistan.

But the defence ministry has since moved to allay international fears by 
asserting it intends to tweak the Shahab-3 and not develop longer-range 
missiles for military purposes.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2003 Agence France-Presse.