Space: Iran Goes Into Orbit Without Italy


April 20, 2011: Iran is trying to get an Italian firm to let go of a $10 million Mesbah-1 telecommunications satellite built for Iran six years ago. Shipment of the satellite was halted when new sanctions were slapped on Iran, which made the paid-for satellite illegal for Italy to export. Back in 2003, when Iran made the deal with the Italian firm, the 75 kg (175 pound) satellite was to be launched using a Russian rocket. But now Iran has rockets that can launch small satellites, and wants to get their hands on Mesbah-1 and launch it themselves. But that won't happen with the sanctions. And even more recent sanctions make it illegal for Russia to launch the Mesbah-1. Since the Mesbah-1 was somewhat low-tech, Iran went ahead and built one itself, which it plans to launch on an Iranian rocket this year, and hopes their version (of both the rocket and the satellite) will work.

Oil financed dictatorships often have problems with sanctions, and getting weapons and military equipment ordered several years in the past. Iraq had a lot of problems in this area. Even democracies find diplomacy interfering with weapons purchases. After the their defeat in the 1967 war with Israel, Arab states demanded that Western nations halt arms shipments to Israel. France, naturally, complied. Israeli was forced to send some secret agents to France and sneak out five warships France had built for Israel, but now refused to deliver because of Arab pressure.



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