Tehran Offers To Launch Satellites For Other Muslim Countries: Report

Iran said it launched a rocket capable of carrying satellites into orbit, and also offered to launch satellites for other Muslim nations, according to the International Herald Tribune in Paris.

The ability to launch satellites into orbit is similar to the technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Many U.S. military observers have said it likely would be five years, until 2013, before Iran developed missiles able to strike target cities throughout Europe and the United States, while Israeli intelligence sources said that would be closer to two years from now.

If Iranian claims are true, then the Middle Eastern nation already has developed missile technology that experts thought was years distant.

Iran meanwhile is producing nuclear materials in thousands of centrifuges that it says would power and electrical generating plant, but which Western observers fear will be used to build nuclear weapons that could be mounted on Iranian missiles.

The United States plans to erect a European Missile Defense (EMD) system capable of taking down Iranian missiles aimed at Europe or the United States. Both the Czech Republic (radar) and Poland (interceptors in silos) have agreed to host the EMD system. (Please see separate stories in this issue.)

But even if the Czech and Polish parliaments give swift approval, the EMD system likely won’t be in place until 2013 or so.

President Bush has said it is urgent to begin construction of the EMD system, but Russia has opposed the move strenuously.

The missile in question apparently had more than one stage, with the Shahab missile that Iran already possessed as the first stage.