Tuesday, August 19, 2008

MK Ben-Yisrael: Iran's Missile Launch Was a Scare

Gil Ronen

Former head of the Israel Space Agency, Kadima party Knesset Member Professor Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, said Iran is far from launching a spy satellite, and that the launch Sunday of a dummy satellite was meant to deter Israel from attacking its nuclear development facilities. Click below for the exclusive interview with Prof. Ben-Yisrael. "They have become nervous," Ben-Yisrael said. "They would like to deter Israel, showing off and telling Israel and the Americans…'Beware of us...' The only thing one can do is to explain the situation and the real facts, and not lose [focus on] the real threat—and that is the ‘nuclearization’ of Iran.”

Ben-Yisrael noted that launching a real satellite would give the Islamic Republic confidence, but no real security.

US White House National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the launch is a cause for concern.

Following an announcement Sunday that Iran claims to have successfully test-launched a two-stage rocket capable of carrying a satellite into outer space, the Iranian Space Agency is offering to help friendly Muslim countries develop and launch satellites. The rocket's name is Safir, or Ambassador.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Muhammad Najjar said that Iran will launch a satellite into space in the near future.

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