September 9, 2008

‘Iranian-Chinese Satellite Doesn’t Pose a Surveillance Threat to Israel’


A satellite jointly launched by Iran and China on Sunday has no military applications and can't collect intelligence on IDF installations, Tal Inbar, a senior researcher at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, said following the launch.

According to a report on Iranian state TV, the research satellite, developed jointly by Thailand, Iran and China, was successfully launched into orbit by a Chinese rocket.

Iranian Telecommunication Minister Muhammad Soleimani said the three countries suffered from natural disasters, and the satellite would transmit photos to help deal with these crises.

Iran is working on creating a space program. Earlier in August, Iran test-launched a rocket it hopes will one day carry its own research satellite into orbit; in 2005 it sent its first commercial satellite into space on a Russian rocket.

Inbar dismissed the possibility that the satellite would be used to conduct surveillance on Israel. He said the development of the satellite by the three countries had been done openly and was part of a United Nations project that brings countries together to develop space-based platforms.

The satellite's resolution, he said, was sufficient to track water levels as well as forest growth, but "is not high enough to have military value."

"This is not a surveillance satellite," Inbar said.

Originally published by YAAKOV KATZ, AP contributed to the report..

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