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Roscosmos has agreed to build a Canopus-V series spacecraft for Iran that is equipped with a high-resolution camera. Sputnik will give both Moscow and Tehran unprecedented spying opportunities.
On August 9, the Russian space agency Roskosmos plans to launch the Khayyam satellite, which was assembled by Russian enterprises on the order of Iran. According to The Washington Post, the satellite will significantly expand Tehran's ability to monitor military installations in the Middle East, but Moscow intends to use it to spy on Ukraine.
Russia has agreed to create for Iran a satellite from the Kanopus-V series for remote sensing of the Earth, which is equipped with a high-resolution camera. This will give Tehran unprecedented capabilities, including near-continuous monitoring of important sites in Israel and the Persian Gulf, observers say.
However, Iran may not be able to control the satellite right away, as Moscow needs “its own eyes” to strengthen surveillance of military facilities on the territory of Ukraine.
The upcoming launch testifies to the expansion of military and political cooperation between Moscow and Tehran. Information about the launch of Khayyam came two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran, where he met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. After the meeting, the Iranian leader announced his government's long-term cooperation with Moscow.
Threats in the Middle East
The publication writes that the prospect of an improved Iranian satellite has caused alarm among Iran's neighbors and opponents, as well as among the military and intelligence officers in the United States. In addition to conducting military surveillance for its own purposes, Iran could share images with paramilitary groups in the region, experts say. For example, satellite data can be received by the Houthi rebels who are fighting in Yemen, or the Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria.
“This is a clear and present danger to the United States and our allies in the Middle East and abroad … along with the growing potential of UAVs in the Middle East, the ability to synchronize this potential with satellite systems and surveillance will only increase the lethality of the Iranian threat,” said Richard Goldberg, senior adviser at the Defense of Democracies Foundation of the Washington think tank.