An Iranian satellite was successfully launched into orbit on Tuesday by a Russian rocket.
The Soyuz rocket lifted off as scheduled at 8:52 a.m. Moscow time (0552 GMT) Tuesday from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.
It launched the Iranian satellite Khayyam into orbit nine minutes after that. It has the name of the Persian scientist Omar Khayyam, who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The high-resolution camera-equipped satellite, according to Iran, will be used for environmental monitoring and will be completely under its control.
Tehran asserted that the information it collects will only be used for civil purposes and that no other country will have access to it, but there have been claims that Russia may do just that as part of its military intervention in Ukraine.
If the satellite is effective, Iran will be able to keep an eye on its arch-enemy Israel and other Middle Eastern nations.
Iranian state television broadcast live video of the launch while mentioning that the nation’s minister of communications was there for the liftoff in Kazakhstan.
State media reported that the satellite would deliver high-resolution surveillance photographs with a definition of one metre per pixel, citing Iran’s civilian space agency. Western civilian satellites provide about half a metre of resolution per pixel, but American espionage satellites are thought to have even more detail.
The United States worries that Iran’s civilian and military space programs could be exploited to improve its ballistic missile programme. But in recent years, Iran has experienced a number of disasters and unsuccessful satellite launches.