AFP is reporting that Iran is about to attempt to launch a satellite. This would, of course, be seen as a huge increase in the threat Iran poses to the entire world. It may also reflect just how close ties are between Iran and North Korea since analysts are pretty sure the technology they plan on using hinges on North Korean information and assistance.
A recently assembled, 30-ton ballistic missile-turned space launcher could also be used for testing longer-range missile strike technologies, according to the report which the weekly magazine said would appear in its January 29 issue.
The US Defense Department did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment on the report.
The Iranian space launcher "will liftoff soon" with an Iranian satellite, said Alaoddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, according to the weekly.
Boroujerdi made his announcement during a speech to religious students and clerics in Qom, where Iran has conducted some of its ballistic missile tests, said the magazine without indicating when he spoke.
Iran's new launch capabilities come at a time of heightened Western concern over Iran and's nuclear programs, and follows only by weeks a reported missile test by China that destroyed a satellite in space.
Iran's new launcher also highlights close technological ties between Iran and North Korean missile programs, the magazine said, citing US intelligence agencies.
Iran's space launcher raises concerns in the West that it could eventually lead to an Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of nearly 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles), putting central Europe, Russia, China and India within its range, Aviation said.
US intelligence agencies, said the weekly, believe the Iranian launcher is a derivation of Iran's Shahab 3 missile, which has a range of 1,300-1,600 kilometers (800-1,000 miles).
Congratulations, Europe. You're about to hit the trifecta. A nuclear armed Iran, a missile system capable of hitting anywhere on your continent and a deranged messianic government in charge of both of those. Nice job on the diplomatic front.