The Washington Post said that Russia is preparing to provide Iran with an advanced satellite system that “gives Tehran an unprecedented ability to track potential military targets throughout the Middle East and further afield.”
The newspaper pointed out that the plan would be to deliver a Russian-made Canopus-V satellite equipped with a high-resolution camera that could be launched from Russia within months.
It quoted US and Middle Eastern officials that the operation may take place within months, adding that the Russian system will greatly enhance Iran’s espionage capabilities.
The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that the satellite “will allow continuous monitoring of facilities from oil refineries in the Persian Gulf and Israeli military bases to Iraqi barracks that host American forces.”
The newspaper confirmed that Russian experts traveled to Iran to train ground crews to operate the satellite, from a newly built facility in the city of Karaj, the capital of the Alborz province in the north of the country.
It stated that although the Canopus-V satellite was advertised for peaceful uses, IRGC commanders have made several visits to Russia since 2018 to help negotiate the agreement.
The “Washington Post” said that the satellite is equipped with Russian equipment, “including a 1.2-meter camera, which represents a significant improvement compared to Iran’s current capabilities, but it is still very far from the quality of American spy satellites.”
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard announced in April 2020 that it had succeeded in placing the first Iranian military satellite in orbit, prompting former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to call for Tehran to be held accountable, because he sees the move as a challenge to a United Nations Security Council resolution .
The publication of the Washington Post report comes days before the scheduled meeting between US Presidents Joe Biden and Russian Vladimir Putin in Geneva, and at a time when Iran and the United States are participating in indirect talks to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement with the aim of placing restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. economic imposed on them.