Iran launches turtles into space

Iran successfully launched a satellite into orbit, inciting Western countries to fear its nuclear potential

by Hani Kaddah

 

Iran successfully launched a 10-foot satellite containing a rat, two turtles and a number of worms into orbit on Feb 3, further alarming Western powers of the country’s nuclear ambition. 

Ali Dareini from The Canadian Press reports that many Western powers “fear that the same technology used to launch the satellite could deliver warheads.”

Iran’s Defense Minister, General Ahmed Vahidi announced the mission and asserts that the satellite is part of a space program. The location and the purpose of the launch were not announced, although the launch was televised on Iran’s state television station, Press TV. 

The rocket called Kavoshgar-3, which means Explorer-3 in Farsi, is the third of its kind to be launched. 

Alan Cowell from The New York Times reports that officials in Washington said that “the Obama Administration was quickly deploying security measures in the region in case of Iranian attacks. Measures include placing ships and building anti-missile mechanism around Iran.” 

Cowell also mentions that the Obama administration will seek international support to sanction Iran.  

Dareini mentions that Iran is seeking to expand its influence in the Middle East. “Iran touts such technological successes as signs it can advance despite the threat of U.S. and U.N. sanctions” he reported.

The Western powers accuse Iran of trying to build an atomic weapon, however Iran has denied these allegations and claims that their nuclear program is for internal necessities such as electricity production. 

Iran also unveiled on the same day another sattelite carrier called Simorgh-3, and three domestically built satellites: Mesbah-2, Tolo and Navid-e-Elm-o-Sanat.  The Canadian Press reports that the Simorgh rocket can carry a satellite weighing 220 pounds and up to 500 kilometers above the earth. 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly watched the rocket being launched into space on a live feed.  
“They’re not there yet and that’s to be expected but this is a step forward that has implications strategically,” Vick said to Reuteurs. 

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