A top Iranian commander has claimed the country is now a superpower and that the United States and “even greater powers will not dare do anything” to it, following the April 22 launch of Iran’s first military satellite.
In an interview with Iran’s Channel 2 last week, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Force, said that the Iranian satellite could now pass over the United States and other countries that its planes cannot fly over.
On its official website, the IRGC said the Noor satellite successfully reached an orbit of 425 kilometers (264 miles) above the Earth’s surface.
The two-stage rocket that launched the satellite took off from Iran’s Central Desert, the IRGC said, without elaborating or saying when exactly the launch took place. The paramilitary force said it used a Ghased, or “Messenger,” satellite carrier to put the device into space, a previously unheard-of system.
“Today, space is open to all. We can get anywhere. [Noor’s] orbit passes over America and many countries over which we cannot fly planes,” Hajizadeh said, in comments translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“Thanks to the grace of God we are a superpower today. I say this decisively. America, and even greater powers, will not dare do anything,” he continued. “With determination and strength, we promise to the Iranian nation that we will advance space technologies. We will grow stronger every day in every field, because this is what the honorable Leader ordered us to do.
“We are responsible for the military fields and we will advance them. We will grow stronger with determination, and God willing, the country will be secure, so that nobody will dare to threaten us or to even give us a threatening look.”
Despite Hajizadeh’s bluster, the head of the US Space Command said earlier this week that the Pentagon believes that Iran’s first successful launch of a military satellite into space does not pose any intelligence threat.
“Iran states it has imaging capabilities — actually, it’s a tumbling webcam in space; unlikely providing intel,” General Jay Raymond said.
Referring back to the January 3 US strike in Iraq that killed the IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, and the subsequent January 8 Iranian strike on US forces in Iraq, Hajizadeh said that America “has a false sense of security.”
“I do not know about Trump’s advisers. They were falsely confident that Iran would not respond [to Soleimani’s assassination]. They had been certain of this, but a few days after [Soleimani’s] martyrdom, when they felt that people were chanting slogans of revenge, they began to worry, and they said: ‘If Iran does anything we will target 52 locations!'”
Hajizadeh added that Iran had been ready to strike 400 targets if the US had responded to its missile attack on the Ayn Al-Assad base. “That was our plan. We said that they would respond within 20-30 minutes and that if they respond, we would strike 400 targets.”
AFP contributed to this report