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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Iranian sabotage delayed launch of Israel - India satellite?

Six weeks ago, I reported that the United States had prevented the launch of a satellite by Israel and India that would take clear photographs to a resolution of ten centimeters even in bad weather. Yesterday, that satellite was launched and I speculated as to why the United States might have relented and given the okay for its two allies to launch the TecSar satellite. This morning, the Jerusalem Post has a much more sinister explanation for why the launch was delayed: Iranian sabotage.
According to assessments recently received, Iran learned of the TecSar's planned deployment from the media and has since applied heavy pressure through Indian opposition parties - particularly the Muslim and Communist political factions - to prevent the launch.

Teheran's attempts to sabotage the operation may demonstrate concerns over Israel's advancing intelligence capabilities. "The Iranians are scared of the potential this new satellite will bring Israel," a Western defense official had said earlier. "They are doing everything they can to prevent its launch."

Despite the reported Iranian opposition, last month the Indian government conveyed a message to the Defense Ministry in Jerusalem confirming that it would launch the TecSar.

On Monday morning the satellite lifted off atop an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV] from the satellite launch pad in Sriharikata.
If this is all there is, I don't agree with the Post's characterization of what happened as 'sabotage.' It's not like they succeeded in destroying or damaging the satellite (or based on this evidence even tried to do so). Iran simply tried to look out for its (unsavory) political interests and Israel is fortunate that its friendship with India won out at the end of the day. If Iran's interests were only political and not genocidal, there would be nothing wrong with Iran's actions.

The influence of Muslim political parties is of course something that has to be watched with a wary eye in the future both in the Indian subcontinent and in Europe. There is no question that countries' actions in international affairs are being - and will in the future be - influenced by unsavory considerations.


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