Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Reactions to Iranian launch vary

The reactions are coming in to Iran's becoming the 10th nation in history to launch its own satellite with its own launcher. They, are, predictably, mixed, and focused less on the satellite than on the implications of the successful launch for Iranian missile capabilities. Israel is extremely concerned, most Western nations perturbed, and Iran is trying to reassure everyone this is a research satellite for a program with only domestic civil aims.

COMMENT: Iran actually has done something significant in space history, and there is room to applaud its scientists and engineers while being very concerned about the bigger picture. It escapes no one that this is additional leverage for Iran in the talks over the nuclear program: that is, demonstration of a related capability heightens the need to freeze the nuclear program, maybe inducing other nations to pay a higher price in aid, diplomatic recognition, etc. - if Iran is willing to make such a compromise at all. Stay tuned.

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