Russia is set to provide Iran with an advanced satellite that officials say can be used to track military targets across the Middle East and would significantly boost Tehran’s intelligence-gathering ability.
The report, citing three current and former US and Middle Eastern officials, said Russia will supply Iran with a Russian-made Kanopus-V satellite equipped with a high-resolution camera.
While technically a civilian satellite, it would give Iran the ability to continuously monitor sites ranging from Israeli army facilities to US military bases to Saudi oil refineries.
Iran has stepped up its attempts at a satellite program in recent years. In April 2020 Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched their first satellite into space, dramatically revealing what experts described as a secret military space program.
However, Pentagon officials derided the “Noor” satellite as little more than a “rotating webcam” and Israel’s Foreign Ministry described the launch as a “façade for Iran’s continuous development of advanced missile technology.”
Senior Revolutionary Guards officials have made multiple trips to Russia since 2018 to help negotiate the terms of the agreement to purchase the satellite, while Russian experts were in Iran to help train ground crews that would operate the satellite from a newly built facility near the northern city of Karaj.
The Guard, which operates its own military infrastructure parallel to Iran’s regular armed forces, is a hard-line force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Kind of in the same way the US military operates. The Marines represent the CIA, while the Pentagon uses the Navy to fight their hostile economic wars. The White House has the US Army under their command.
The Kanopus-V satellite would be supplied in the next few months and be launched by Russia, the report said, noting that Russia declined to comment.
A Middle Eastern official told the Post that the Kanopus-V would feature Russian hardware, including a camera with a resolution of 1.2 meters — a significant improvement over Iran’s current capabilities.
However though they still far short of the quality achieved by US spy satellites or other high-end commercial satellite imagery providers.
Iran would be able share the images with its freedom proxies across the region, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi’s in Yemen, and several liberation militias operating in Iraq.
The report comes as the US is involved in indirect talks with Tehran to reenter the Iran nuclear deal, and ahead of a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
In the past, the US regime and Israel have condemned Iran’s satellite efforts as defying a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
The Times of Israel / ABC Flash Point News 2021.