IRAN: FLIES BELOW & ABOVE RADAR
By Micah Halpern
Friday October 9, 2009
Iran, under the leadership of The Grand Ayatollah Khamenei and the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has successfully managed to outwit, outsmart and outmaneuver the Western world in both the diplomatic and military arenas.
Western democracies have obsessed over Iran's embracing of nuclear technology and race towards nuclear capability. And yet, Iran has managed to progress towards their nuclear goal unencumbered by international dictates and convention. Iran has built nuclear facilities, purchased nuclear materials and fooled nuclear inspectors and will soon be capable of making a nuclear bomb.
Iran has done it all by flying under international radar.
But Iran is not only flying under the radar, Iran is also, and very successfully, flying above the radar.
Iran is doing much more than breaking into the nuclear club. This week Iran announced that they will launch another missile, a different type of missile - a missile designed for space. Iran is engaged in a race that is bigger and more significant than the nuclear race. Iran has been racing towards "the final frontier" and all the while, the Western world has remained ignorant of their very calculated moves and the long term implications.
If successful, Iran will be able to use their missiles launched in space, aka satellites, for military intelligence. They will be able to control their weapons systems from miles up above the earth. If successful, the Iranians will be major players in space and they will be totally unhindered in their quest for international control.
Iran is making plans to launch this missile and then another missile into space within the next six months. According to Mohammed Ibrahimi, the head of Iran's Department of Space Exploration, "The Kavoshgar-3 missile will be launched into space by the end of the Persian year (which ends on March 20th) for the purpose of research." The Kavoshgar-3 is the new version of the Kavoshgar-2, the space rocket that Iran launched in December of 2008 during their last effort to enter space.
It is neither coincidental nor serendipitous that Iran is racing towards supremacy in both the nuclear and space arenas at the same time. The overlap between the space and nuclear programs is fundamental.
There is one stumbling block that has encumbered Iran's nuclear program. Even more difficult than enriching uranium is the ability to successfully deliver nuclear warheads - and that is exactly where the space program and the nuclear program overlap. A successful space program will facilitate a successful delivery system.
The same long range missile technology that will send a rocket into space will be the technology that Iran uses to deliver a nuclear warhead to Israel or to any other Western target around the world.
The race began in 1998 when Iran began research into the Shabbab-4. Ostensibly, the rocket was to be used to attack Israel but over the past eleven years Shabbab-4 plans were scrapped and all energies were focused on the Shabbab-3, a better, faster, longer missile with much better controls. The Kavoshgar is an outgrowth of that program.
The Iranian race towards supremacy in space is as big a story as is their race towards nuclear capability - and just as scary and as foreboding. But no red flags have been waving, no statements of condemnation have been issued and no investigations have been conducted.
The Western world has fallen asleep, The Grand Ayatollah and the Iranian president are wide awake and racing ahead.
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