Iran now says “dummy satellite” into orbit. Israel concerned by missile capability
“A US official said Tuesday, Aug. 19, that the dummy Safir satellite carrier launched by Tehran Sunday, Aug. 17, failed “shortly after liftoff and in no way reached its intended position.” DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources disclose that the launch did not fail at that point but nevertheless did not reach its intended orbit around Earth.”
Straight from the Debka File: “The head of Iran’s aerospace program qualified Tehran’s earlier announcement that its first home-made communications was launched Sunday, Aug. 17. Reza Taghizadeh said: “The Safir satellite carrier was launched today and for the first time we successfully launched a dummy satellite into orbit.”
Earlier, the Iranian news network IRNN showed footage of what it called a domestically-manufactured communications satellite named Safir-e Omid being launched in darkness, accompanied by patriotic hymns.
DEBKAfile reports form one Iranian source that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally recited the countdown.
Our military sources stress that confirmation of Iran’s successful launch would represent a strategic breakthrough, testifying to Tehran’s long-range missile delivery capability, possibly armed with nuclear warheads, to distances of thousands of kilometers, against Israel and beyond; Europe and parts of Asia would also be in range. The missile program has been advancing in parallel to Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon.
Iran would also have paved the way for spy satellites. If verified, Iran’s space achievement would offset one of Israel’s prime military assets, its superiority in space technology.
According to our sources, Tehran caught Israel, the United States and both their undercover agencies by surprise. They knew Iran was working on a space program but not how close the Iranians were to placing a satellite in orbit.
Our sources believe that the capsule was boosted by the Shehab-5 missile, whose range the Iranians boast is up to 5,000 km and, according to some military experts, reaches 7,000 km.
The Islamic Republic’s reported feat comes at a bad time for Moscow internationally. The Russians emphatically dismiss America’s argument for installing missile interceptors in Poland as a shield against Iranian ballistic missile attack, claiming they were aimed at Russia. The Kremlin accuses the Bush administration using this false claim as a pretext, because Iran had not so far developed a ballistic threat. Now, that proof may have been provided Sunday, Moscow will have to reconsider its position.”