Report: Russia Deal to Give Iran Advanced Satellite Spying Capability

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) summit in Tehran on November 23, 2015. Putin arrived in Tehran on his first trip to Iran in eight years, for talks on the devastating conflict in Syria where both countries …
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty

Russia is ready to enhance Iran’s spying capabilities by giving the Islamic republic access to an advanced satellite system, according to a U.S. media report.

The deal could allow Tehran greater monitoring across the Persian Gulf  including Israeli bases, America’s troop presence in Iraq, and a broad range of military targets on land and sea.

A Kanopus-V satellite with high-resolution camera is the critical part of the agreement, the Washington Post reported Thursday, allowing Iran to spy on the facilities of its adversaries across the Middle East.

The paper cited current and former U.S. and Middle Eastern officials as background for the report.

The revelation comes comes just days before Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his American counterpart Joe Biden for June 16 talks in Switzerland on the U.S. leader’s first foreign tour.

It also builds on Iran’s stated desire to build closer ties to Russia, something Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also highlighted Thursday.

The United States and Russia want to pursue strategic talks on arms control and emerging security issues to build on extension of the New START nuclear arms treaty.

AFP reports the capability adds to an already long list of grievances in Washington ahead of the talks, from election interference to hacking operations linked to the Russian government.

The officials said the launch of the satellite could happen within months, and is the result of multiple trips to Russia by leaders of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

The satellite would be launched in Russia and contain Russian-made hardware, according to details shared by the officials.

While not of the capability of American satellites, Iran could “task” the new satellite with spying on specific locations.

AFP contributed to this story

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