Images suggest Iran launched satellite despite US criticism

This Feb. 6, 2019, satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows an empty launch pad and a burn mark on it at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province. (AP)
Updated 07 February 2019
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Images suggest Iran launched satellite despite US criticism

  • It wasn’t immediately clear if the satellite, if launched, made it into orbit
  • The US alleges such launches defy a UN Security Council resolution

DUBAI: Iran appears to have attempted a second satellite launch despite US criticism that its space program helps the country develop ballistic missiles, satellite images released Thursday suggest. Iran did not immediately acknowledge conducting such a launch.
Images released by the Colorado-based company DigitalGlobe show a rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province on Tuesday. Images from Wednesday show the rocket was gone with what appears to be burn marks on its launch pad.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the satellite, if launched, made it into orbit.
In the images, words written in Farsi in large characters on the launch pad appeared to say in part “40 years” and “Iranian made,” in different sections. That is likely in reference to the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, which authorities have been celebrating this month.
Iranian state media did not immediately report on the rocket launch, though such delays have happened in previous launches.
Iran has said it would launch its Doosti, or “friendship,” satellite. A launch in January failed to put another satellite, Payam or “message,” into orbit after successfully launching it from the same space center.
DigitalGlobe analysts said the images from Tuesday suggest Iran used a Safir, or “ambassador,” rocket in the launch. In the January launch, engineers used a Simorgh, or “phoenix,” rocket. It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the rocket choice.
The Doosti, a remote-sensing satellite developed by engineers at Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology, was to be launched into a low orbit.
The US alleges such launches defy a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Iran, which long has said it does not seek nuclear weapons, maintains its satellite launches and rocket tests do not have a military component. Tehran also says they don’t violate a United Nations resolution that only “called upon” it not to conduct such tests.
Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space.
Iran usually displays space achievements in February during the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. This year’s 40th anniversary comes amid Iran facing increasing pressure from the US under the administration of President Donald Trump.
The likely launch also comes after a Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi reportedly said Sunday that three researchers died “because of a fire in one of the buildings of the Space Research Center,” without elaborating.


More than 85 Houthis killed in battles across Yemen

Updated 17 February 2019
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More than 85 Houthis killed in battles across Yemen

  • More than 40 militants were killed in the southern Taiz province, and 18 others were killed on the Damt front in the southern Ad Dali province
  • Scores of militants were wounded, while the army seized military-grade equipment and ammunition.

DUBAI: More than 85 Iran-backed Houthi militants were killed and more wounded in clashes with the Yemeni army supported by the Arab Coalition across the country on Saturday, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported.

According to the reports, more than 40 militants were killed in the southern Taiz province, and 18 others were killed on the Damt front in the southern Ad Dali province, while more than 30 were killed in clashes with the Hajour tribe northwest of the country.

Scores of militants were wounded, while the army seized military-grade equipment and ammunition.

Meanwhile, Yemen’ Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hadrami said that the continued conflict stirred by the Houthis threatens the Swedish peace agreement and any progress in the political process.

In a meeting with UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash on the sidelines of the 55th session of the Munich Conference of Security 2019, Al-Hadrami said that the continued Houthi manipulation represents the failed opportunities for peace in Yemen.

For his part, UAE’s Gargash stressed on the need to combine efforts and send clear messages to the international community revealing the truth behind the militia’s violations on the ground.