The Islamic Republic of Space

Got clients in Iran? What use would a hard-line Islamic republic have for lawyers? Probably not much. Nonetheless, with or without the use of space counsel, and despite the regionally if not globally controversial nature of its fledgling program, Iran is making its way into orbit, and AP writer Ali Akbar Dareini files an update on Iran's major space ambitions (via Space.com).

As we know, Iran became a space power in October when it launched Sina-1, a small Russian-built satellite, aboard a Russian rocket. (Next up, another satellite, Mezbah. And reportedly coming, Iran's Shahab-4 launcher.)

Globalsecurity.org also has
this backgrounder.

And some of you may recall, or have actually attended, last year's workshop in Tehran presented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Islamic Republic of Iran, titled
Regional Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Environmental Security, Disaster Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development (May 8–12, 2004). Some materials from that workshop are now posted, including a statement by Hassan Shafti, then president of the Iran Space Agency, which included this observation about Iran's space plans,

"Moreover, in the field of the aerospace, we have taken effective steps forward in capacity building in aerospace sector through training the specialized manpower in undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD levels in the recent two decades.

Furthermore, with the establishment of Iran Space Agency in the recent months, our country took a very fundamental step forward. Iran Space Agency will have an important role at the outer space, enhancement of knowledge and experience, and extensive cooperation at the regional and international level. This cooperation will also include the design, manufacturing and launching national and regional satellites.

Our expertise now with an appropriate background of knowledge and expertise are prepared to take more active role in the international collaboration and cooperation.

(No mention of spying on Israel there.)

And here's the
Iran Space Agency (or, if you prefer, and I do, the English version.)

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