Iran is preparing to launch a new scientific observation satellite in the coming days. (Photo Credit: Representational Image)
Iran is preparing to launch a new scientific observation satellite in the “coming days”, the head of the country’s national space agency said on Saturday. Manufacture of the Zafar (Victory in Farsi) satellite “began three years ago with the participation of 80 Iranian scientists,” said Morteza Berari, without giving a date for the launch.
The 113-kilogram satellite will be launched by a Simorgh rocket 530 kilometres (329 miles) above the Earth, where it will make 15 orbits daily, Berari said.
The satellite was designed to remain operational for “more than 18 months”, he added.
Its “primary mission” will be collecting imagery, said Berari, who said Iran needed such data to study earthquakes, prevent natural disasters and develop its agriculture.
“It will be a new step for our country,” said Berari, noting that Iran had previously managed to place a satellite into orbit 250 km (155 miles) above the Earth.
While the Islamic republic’s satellite programme has concerned some Western countries, Berari said Iran advocates for the “peaceful use of outer space”.
“All our activities in the domain of outer space are transparent,” he said.
The best thing the US can do for the world is to continue its maximum pressure campaign on Iran’s regime to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon, a top US official said. “The best thing we can do for the Iranian people and for the world is to continue our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Iranian regime never obtains a nuclear weapon, stops their terrorist activities in the region and cuts back on their ballistic missile program, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said.
The US has imposed new sanctions on Iran following missile strikes by it on bases housing US troops in Iraq. Iran said the attacks were in revenge for the killing of the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike last week, which was ordered by President Donald Trump.
O’Brien said it has never been the policy of the US to change the regime in Iran, but the people of Iran are going to hopefully have the ability at some point to elect their own government. “It’s never been our policy to change the regime in Iran, but the people of Iran are going to hopefully have the ability at some point to elect their own government and to be governed by the leaders they choose. I mean we hope that around the world. But that’s not our policy. And we’re going to support human rights, he said during an interview to a private American channel.