A Russian rocket carrying an Iranian satellite successfully launched into space on Tuesday as Moscow and Tehran seek to build closer relations amidst Western sanctions.
According to a video broadcast by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency on YouTube, the remote sensing satellite, called “Khayyam” was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the home of Russian space launches located in southern Kazakhstan, at 08:52 am Moscow time on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
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,” according to a Reuters report.
The Washington Post reported last week that US 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.
Russia has sought to deepen its ties with Iran since Feb. 24, when the Kremlin ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran in July on his first international trip outside the former Soviet Union since the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.