Iran is planning to order at least three more satellites from Russia, from the same model as the Khayyam satellite that was launched into space this week, a government spokesman said on Friday.
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Ali Bahadori Jahromi wrote on his Twitter account that the “construction of three more Khayyam satellites in collaboration with Iranian scientists is on the government’s agenda.”
The satellite was launched last Tuesday from Kazakhstan on a Soyuz-2 rocket. Iranian state television proclaimed the purchase “a sign of the strategic cooperation between Tehran and Moscow in space.”
Tehran said that the satellite would be used to monitor the country’s borders and to improve its capabilities in planning and managing areas such as agriculture, natural resources, environment, mining and natural disasters.
Last week, the Washington Post reported that the satellite was designed to significantly expand Iran’s ability to spy on military targets in the Middle East.
According to that report, the Khayyam, named after the 12th-century Persian mathematician Omar Khayyam, is based on a Kanopus-V surveillance satellite and includes a camera with a high 1.2-meter resolution.
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This will enable Iranian intelligence to monitor almost continuously sensitive installations in Israel and the Persian Gulf.
The report further noted that although the satellite’s photography capabilities are not as powerful as those of advanced commercial satellites, it would still give Iran an advantage in relation to its current capabilities. Experts who spoke with the Washington Post said that Iran is likely to share photos with its proxies in the Middle East, including Hezbollah.