DUBAI: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards successfully launched a third military satellite into orbit on Wednesday, state media reported, citing Minister of Communications Issa Zarepour. The Noor 3 imaging satellite orbits at an altitude of 450 kilometres above the earth’s surface and was launched by the three-stage Qased, or messenger carrier, state media said, which launched its predecessor Noor 2 in 2022.
The US military says the same long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also allow Tehran to launch longer-range weapons, possibly including nuclear warheads.
Tehran denies US assertions that such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development and says it has never pursued the development of nuclear weapons.
Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programmes in the Middle East, has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent years due to technical issues.
The US on Wednesday placed sanctions on entities and people based in China, Turkiye, the United Arab Emirates and Iran for aiding the Iranian attack drone programme, which Washington accuses of supplying such weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine.
The US Treasury said it put sanctions on five entities and two people who were part of a network helping procure sensitive parts — including servomotors, which help control position and speed — for Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2023