Explainer: Iran's Space Program

When Did Iran Start Its Space Program? What Are Its Goals? Who or What Agency Is in Charge?
June 3, 2022

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile


John Krzyzaniak


The Iran Primer

Iran’s interest in outer space dates back to 1957, when it joined 17 other nations in creating the ad hoc Committee for International Cooperation in Space at the United Nations. Two years later, Iran became one of the 24 founding members of the successor organization, the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Iran also signed the 1967 Outer Space Treaty—which still forms the core of international space law—although Tehran never ratified the agreement.

Iran’s space efforts began in earnest around 1998, when it signed agreements with Russia and China to collaborate on designing, building, and launching several satellites, including a communications satellite called Mesbah. (Mesbah was never launched). In 1999, the then Iranian defense minister, Ali Shamkhani, first indicated Iran’s intention to build not only satellites but also the rockets to place them into orbit.


Read the rest of this explainer at The Iran Primer.