Iran plans to acquire three more versions of a satellite launched this week by Russia, the Iranian government spokesman said on Friday.
“The construction of three more Khayyam satellites with the participation of Iranian scientists is on the government’s agenda,” Ali Bahadori-Jahromi said on his Twitter account.
The satellite was launched on Tuesday by a Soyuz-2.1B rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, controlled by Moscow. At a press conference on Wednesday, the director of the Iranian space agency, Hassan Salarieh, explained that it had been built by the Russians under the supervision of Iran.
The United States says the satellite is intended for “spying” activities and calls Moscow’s growing cooperation with Tehran a serious “threat”.
Iran rejected these allegations on Wednesday, saying that the device was built “to meet the needs of the country,” in particular in the “management of urban crises”, and “of natural resources”.
Tehran insists that its space programme is for civilian and defence purposes only, and does not violate the 2015 nuclear deal or any other international agreement.
Western governments fear that satellite launch systems incorporate technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads, which Iran has always denied wanting to build.
Iran succeeded in putting its first military satellite into orbit in April 2020, drawing the ire of the United States.