February 28, 2016

Surprise, Surprise

According to satellite images obtained last week by arms control experts, the Imam Khomeini Space Center, located near Semnan in northern Iran, is being actively prepared for a launch on March 1 or 2 (see below).

And as one may guess, this launch is raising concerns among US intelligence officials about Tehran's potential development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Probably similar to the concerns raised after North Korea's satellite launch three weeks ago, on February 7th.

We among others have been warning for years about the close cooperation between North Korea and Iran on their respective nuclear weapons programs, so this latest development should come as no surprise to anyone, including our concerned political leaders.

The one thing the American people should be concerned about is the ineptitude, incompetence and dishonesty of their elected officials. Especially those leaders who recently signed a farcical nuclear deal with Iran, got rid of sanctions against it, and gave the #1 state sponsor of terrorism in the world BILLIONS of dollars.

This willful ignorance of history and propensity to ignore the writing on the wall is just one reason America is in decline today. An ignorant electorate chooses ignorant leaders, and both have historically led to the demise of great empires.

As Ayn Rand once wrote: "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

Times of Israel  |  February 28, 2016

Iran Preparing To Launch Satellite Into Orbit, US Experts Say

Newly obtained images raise concerns about Tehran's potential development of intercontinental ballistic missiles

By Tamar Pileggi

Iran-Satellite launch
Iranians take photos of the Simorgh satellite rocket during celebrations to mark the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Teheran, February 11, 2016. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

Iran is set to launch a satellite into orbit in the coming days, raising concerns about Tehran’s potential development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), US intelligence officials said.

According to satellite images obtained last week by arms control experts Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Melissa Hanham and Catherine Dill, the Imam Khomeini Space Center, located near Semnan in northern Iran, is being actively prepared for a launch on March 1 or 2.

Tehran issued a NOTAM (notice to airmen) warning them away from the area on those days, Lewis wrote in his blog, Arms Control Wonk, last Wednesday.

He said the images show that construction at the site has recently been completed, and also reveal that the framework for pre-launch supporting and servicing is now positioned over the launch bucket, suggesting the rocket is currently being fueled.

The rocket being stacked at the site, called the Simorgh (Persian for “Phoenix”), is designed to carry a 100-kilogram (220-pound) payload into a 500-kilometer (310-mile) orbit.

Iran-satellite launch-tweet.jpg

The Simorgh, Lewis noted, has previously raised concerns in Washington as the technology “could be used for an ICBM-class vehicle.”

While the Simorgh by itself is not an ICBM, Lewis says the technology demonstrates essential technologies required to carry an ICBM-type weapon.

Last October, Iran announced it “successfully” tested the Simorgh — which, according to Tehran, has a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,050 miles) — and earlier this month paraded a simulation of the new rocket at a rally in the capital.

Iran-satellite launch-map.jpg

In another post, Lewis debunked a 2015 report by Israel’s Channel 2, in which he claimed the finished launch site was a “false alarm.” He said the satellite imagery obtained by the Israeli TV station in January 2015 showed temporary structures that were likely used in construction, and not the finished product.

During celebrations marking Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution held in Tehran on February 11, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards displayed mock-ups of Iranian-made military hardware, including the Simorgh.

Many people took selfies with the missile, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

The claim of plans for an Iranian satellite comes on the heels of a successful North Korean launch, and weeks after Iran finalized a nuclear deal with world powers that eased crippling economic sanctions in exchange for the Islamic republic scaling back its nuclear program.

Under the terms of the agreement, Iran is barred from developing ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. However, Tehran has said that its ballistic missile program is not connected to the landmark accord.

Iran claims it has ballistic missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), which are capable of striking both Israel and regional rival Saudi Arabia. In recent weeks, senior Iranian officials announced Tehran has doubled its efforts to develop its ballistic missile capabilities.

On January 17, the US announced new penalties related to Iran’s ballistic missile program, despite the lifting of punishing measures aimed at its atomic activities.

Original article here.


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