TEHRAN: Iran said Sunday it will control from day one a satellite due to be launched by Russia within days, rejecting reports that it will intially serve Moscow in its war in Ukraine, reports AFP.
The Iranian remote sensing satellite, named Khayyam, is due to be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, Russia's State Space Corporation said earlier this week.
The Washington Post on Thursday reported that Russia plans to use the satellite for several months or longer to assist its war efforts in Ukraine before allowing Iran to take control of it, according to anonymous Western intelligence officials.
They added that the satellite will provide Tehran with unprecedented capabilities, including near-continuous monitoring of sensitive facilities in Israel and in the Gulf.
But Moscow would first use the satellite to enhance its surveillance of military targets in the Ukraine conflict, the report said.
The Iranian space agency dismissed the claims as untrue, adding that no third country is able to access the information sent by the satellite due to its encrypted algorithm.
The satellite, apparently named after 11th-12th century Persian polymath Omar Khayyam, aims to monitor the country's borders, enhance agricultural productivity and monitor water resources and natural disasters, the Iranian agency said earlier this week.
In June 2021, Putin denied a US media report that Russia is set to deliver an advanced satellite system to Iran that will vastly improve its spying capabilities.
Iran insists its space programme is for civilian and defence purposes only, and does not breach the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, or any other international agreement.
Western governments worry that satellite launch systems incorporate technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, something Iran has always denied wanting to build.
Iran successfully put its first military satellite into orbit in April 2020, drawing a sharp rebuke from the United States.
In March, the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological arm of Iran's armed forces, announced it had successfully put a military reconnaissance satellite, Nour-2, into orbit.