Russia is preparing to provide Iran with an advanced satellite system that will allow the Islamic Republic unprecedented tracking capabilities of military targets, The Washington Post reported on Thursday night.
The report, based on US and Middle East sources, said that Russia is supplying Iran with a Kanopus-V satellite equipped with a high-resolution camera that will greatly boost Tehran’s spying abilities and enable it to continuously monitor IDF bases in Israel, US bases in Iraq, and Persian Gulf oil refineries.
Senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials have been traveling back and forth to Moscow since 2018 to negotiate the acquisition of the Russian-made Kanopus-V. Over the past two months, Russian officials have been traveling to Iran to train ground crew to operate the satellite in a newly built facility near the northern city of Karaj.
“It’s high-resolution and very good for military aims,” a Middle Eastern official told The Post. “This capability will allow Iran to maintain an accurate target bank, and to update that target bank within a few hours” every day.
The official added that the new satellite is especially concerning in light of the possibility that Iran could share the imagery with Iranian proxies in the region, including Hezbollah in southern Lebanon next to the Israeli border, pro-Iran militias in Syria and Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen
Experts say that another serious concern about Iran’s heightened spying capabilities is Tehran’s newly advanced missile guidance systems that are capable of precise strikes of distant targets. The enhanced satellite imagery could hone the missiles’ precision and effectiveness.
“Having this kind of on-call data feed may open up technical and operational possibilities that the Iranians previously didn’t have,” said Christopher Ford, the State Department’s top nonproliferation official under the Trump administration. “It sounds like a significant upgrade, not just a slight slide up the slope in terms of potential military applications.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)