Iran’s defense minister has said his country’s pursuit of satellite deployments is “a normal endeavor”, after several reports in international media about an impending launch by Tehran.
General Amir Hatami told the official news website IRNA, “The Defense Ministry is continuing its research regarding launching rockets and satellites based on a codified program” and when some observers notice something new it raises questions for them, “while these actions are normal endeavors”.
Iran's space program is a matter of concern for the United States and Europe, because satellite-carrying missiles can have dual use as long-range ballistic weapons. The U.S. has been demanding an end to Iran's ballistic missile program and a UN resolution has forbidden Iran from developing nuclear-capable missiles.
Hatami’s portrayal of Iran’s satellite and space program sounded much more cautious than recent announcements by other officials. In late July Iran’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Jahromi Azari had said the country's communication satellite Nahid-1 will be ready for launch in two weeks.
The National Public Radio reported on August 26 that satellite imagery showed Iran preparing for a possible space launch.
Hatami’s remarks also seem to be a response to this report. He told IRNA that satellite imagery of Iran’s activities at its facilities might sometimes correspond to reality but “it is a very complicated issue”. Hatami added that when “our endeavors have successful outcomes, we will share the happy news” with the public.