"Beware the jihadist in the red shirt. He's always expendable."
Just like the nuclear program is only-- only -- for electricity, this is only about launching a satellite. A cover for ballistic missile development? Nah.
In this, of course, the Iranians would be taking a page from North Korea, with whose government they have cooperated closely on missile technology in the past. They are also reportedly receiving assistance from North Korea on preparing their own underground nuclear test.
In addition, one might recall that in 1998, North Korea claimed to launch a satellite, the Kwang Myong Song 1, aboard a Taepodong rocket. The problem is, no one else has ever located it. This bit of surreal, Orwellian history may be repeating itself in Iran.
"Iran's satellite program is 'troubling development,' U.S. says," by Paul Tighe and Robin Stringer for Bloomberg:
Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Iran's new space center built to send a research satellite into orbit is a "troubling development" because it employs the same technology used for producing long- range ballistic missiles, the U.S. State Department said.
The United Nations Security Council and "other members of the international system have expressed their deep concern about Iran's continuing development of medium- and long-range ballistic missiles," spokesman Sean McCormack said at a briefing in Washington yesterday.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hours earlier inaugurated the country's first space center, which will be used to launch the Omid satellite, the first such probe designed and built by Iranian scientists, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Iran in November said it built a missile capable of traveling 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles), a range that takes in Israel's main cities and U.S. bases in the Middle East. Iran is developing two "critical elements" needed for nuclear arms -- electronic systems for ballistic missiles and uranium enrichment, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in December.
Iran's "continued search to perfect enrichment of uranium" remains the concern of the international community, McCormack said, according to a transcript. "They are clearly marching ahead on the development of a long-range missile."