Iran launched a new satellite-carrying rocket recently, according to reports on February 3.
Forbes has reported that it could carry a nuclear warhead, while other media have pointed out that the launch was done as the new Biden administration is discussing the Iran deal.
The importance of the launch looks to be multilayered, both signaling to the US the power of Iran’s missile program, and also potentially threatening Israel.
Tal Inbar was the head of the UAV research center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies until 2019, and he is an independent analyst on missiles, UAV and space. He frequently covers new Iranian missile technology.
“This is an important development,” he told The Jerusalem Post in an interview. Iran introduced a totally new launch vehicle, according to Inbar. “We knew about it from Iranian sources more than a year ago, and it was fired and launched without a satellite as a test flight, and it is a three-stage launch vehicle.”
It is called Zoljanah.
What is interesting is that the first and second stages of the missile use solid fuel. They are 1.5 m. in diameter, and this is the largest solid rocket in Iran’s arsenal. The rocket, or SLV (Satellite Launch Vehicle), is a new revelation, says Inbar.
It comes amid all the press coverage of Iranian threats, including to Israel, and the discussion surrounding Washington rejoining the Iran deal. Indications point to Washington hesitating before bending to Iran’s demands. Israel has warned Iran about its continued quest for nuclear weapons. Iran has warned Israel not to attack.
“It is not only a genuine test flight of a satellite vehicle, but a signal to the US, Europe and Israel that missile technology is off the table,” said Inbar.
The big question is…
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