Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hostile drones disrupted Iranian satellite launch

From Haaretz 10/3/09, by Yoav Stern:

Hostile unmanned aerial vehicles overflew Iran last month and disrupted the communications systems at the launch site of a missile carrying Iran's first satellite to space, according to the country's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Iranian leader was quoted by an Iranian news agency as having said in recent discussions that the disruptions of communications caused a delay of several hours to the launch of the rocket, which had to be operated with the use of a backup system.

Ahmadinejad said drones flew at very high altitude and used sophisticated electronic equipment to jam ground-based systems. He also said that a decision was made to shoot down the drones with fighter planes, but it was decided not to do so for reasons he did not explain.

Meir Javedanfar, an expert on Iran, told Haaretz on Monday that Israel is presumed to be the No. 1 suspect for this operation. "The intelligence war against Iran is intensifying and becoming more public. It seems that the aim is not only to foil Iran's military developments but also to embarrass the leadership and put pressure on it. This may be an important tool for Ahmadinejad in the coming presidential elections," the analyst said.

Monday's report suggests that Iran had planned to launch a satellite into orbit on January 20, the day Barack Obama assumed office. However, the launch was delayed by two weeks because of difficult atmospheric conditions.
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