Iranian state television has broadcast the successful launch of a rocket carrying animals into space.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called it a breakthrough for Iran which will help to break “the global domineering system” of Western powers but experts in the West see it as Iran’s latest move in a game of diplomatic chess.
Despite UN restrictions on the country’s missile programme, Iran’s President will dodge some criticism from other countries because of his surprise u-turn announcement that Iran will agree to ship its uranium abroad after international concerns about its nuclear programme. Mr. Ahmadinejad made the statement on the same day as the space launch.
Some people have said that launching the turtles, mouse and worms into space shows a positive advance in the country’s space development. This blog suggests we take a minute to appreciate the technological feat it represents! In the face of world opposition and sanctions, Iran has joined a very exclusive club: those countries that have managed to orbit a satellite.
Others are critical of Iran, warning of the danger Iran could pose:
A capsule in which some small animals can survive a journey into space is also a capsule in which a weaponized virus or a chemical weapon can be kept stable en-route to a distant target. Iran’s peaceful launch today thus demonstrates the capability to deliver a chemical or biological weapon – weapons the Iranian regime is presumed to possess – to the other side of the world.
But SPACEblog thinks we should recognise the achievement:
it’s good to see innovation coming out of any corner of Earth, as long as said innovation remains on a peaceful track… keep reaching for the stars.
So what’s this really about? Should Iran be praised for its efforts to break what it suggests is a Western monopoly on space travel? Or has some clever diplomacy masked a threatening escalation in Iranian armament?