Russia Is Preparing to Supply Iran with an Advanced Satellite System That Will Boost Tehran's Ability to Surveil Military Targets, Officials Say

June 10, 2021


Joby Warrick


The Washington Post

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Unnamed current and former Middle Eastern and U.S. officials allege that Russia is taking steps to sell the Kanopus-V spy satellite to Iran. The officials said that the Kanopus-V could be launched from Russia within months and that its high-resolution camera would enable Iran to continuously surveil sites such as military sites in Israel, oil refineries in the Persian Gulf, and bases used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The officials added that leaders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) traveled to Russia several times since 2018 to negotiate Iran's acquisition of the spy satellite and that Russian specialists made a trip to Iran to train Iranian ground crews to operate the satellite from a new facility in Karaj. According to a Middle Eastern official, Iran can use the Kanopus-V to maintain "an accurate target bank" for potential missile and drone strikes. Last year, Iran launched its own, allegedly less-capable Noor-1 military satellite following earlier failures.