NEW DELHI (AFP) – Iran said Tuesday it had lodged an official complaint with New Delhi over India’s commercial launch of an Israeli spy satellite last month.
The satellite, blasted into orbit from southern India on January 21, is reported by the Israeli press to have the ability to see through clouds, carry out day and night all-weather imaging and will be used to spy on Iran’s suspect nuclear programme.
“The Indian government says the issue is a technical and commercial one, but we hope that the matter can be considered from the point of view of protocol,” Iran’s ambassador to New Delhi, Sayed Mahdi Nabizadeh, told reporters.
“We hope that an independent and wise country like India will not give their space technology to launch any instruments of espionage. Our officials have expressed our point of view,” he added.
The launch was carried out under a commercial contract between Israel Aerospace Industries and Antrix, the marketing arm of India’s space agency, and is seen by India as another boost for its bid to win more international satellite launch business.
Israel, along with many Western nations, says Iran is using an atomic energy drive as a cover for developing a bomb — an allegation denied by Tehran.
Last month Israel said all options were on the table to prevent Iran — which openly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state — from obtaining nuclear weapons.