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Iran Hits American Satellite

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The Scoop of Yedihot Aharonot

Today, December 17, 2011, the largest Hebrew newspaper brought the scoop of the year. According to the newspaper, Iran blinded a CIA spy satellite. The paper added that a European intelligence source claimed Iran stunned the West by accurately aiming a laser burst at an American satellite in a never before reported incident.

One should be careful when assessing such a scoop from an Israeli newspaper. After all, Israel is openly pushing an American attack on Iran and this could be the false flag needed for launching such an attack. Israel wants to Wag the Dog Yet, the news appeared at an interesting time.

Iranian Jamming Technology

According to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, Iranians have successively gained access to jamming technology, allowing them to track unmanned aerial vehicle navigation capabilities. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Fox News last Sunday that such an option is possible. There are additional testimonies of that.

On December 4, Iran downed an American drone. Iranian TV has shown a video footage of a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel drone. It had been intercepted by an Iranian army's electronic warfare unit over the city of Kashmar. American sources had unofficially confirmed the loss. Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Aerospace Unit, told that the drone "fell into the trap of the unit, which then managed to land it with minimum damage". This happened 140 miles from the Afghan border, well within Iranian air-space.

The drone events apparently shows Iran owns the technological base needed to develop such weapons.

Where did the technology originate in?

Bolton added "Some reports have said Russia sold (Iran) a very sophisticated jamming system a short time ago. Now, our military says that is not true, it came down because of a malfunction. I certainly hope that's right because if the Russians have provided Iran with sophisticated jamming equipment it means a lot else is at risk too."

However, this may be inexact. There is another option. It has been reported that in 2005 China has fired high-power lasers at US spy satellites flying over its territory in what experts see as a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft. It remains unclear how many times the ground-based laser was tested against U.S. spacecraft or whether it was successful. Pakistan Defence reported then that “a lower-power (30-watt) laser intended for alignment of the system and tracking of the satellite was the primary laser source used during the test, and it appeared that this lower-power laser was sufficiently powerful itself to blind the satellite temporarily, although it could not destroy the sensor.” American sources keep quiet about this. We may be witnessing the testing of Chinese technologies by Iran, or Iranian new technologies developed upon Chinese prototypes.

Due to international sensitivities, China may have restrained from new tests on foreign satellites. Simply, there are no news on that. As of now, the Iranian success seems to be a first of its kind.

A New Theater

Despite international agreements prohibiting the use of weapons in space, the USA, Russia and China had developed Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT). On September 13, 1985, the United States destroyed US satellite P78-1 using an ASM-135 ASAT anti-satellite missile. On January 11, 2007, China destroyed an old Chinese orbiting weather satellite. A year later on February 21, 2008, USA destroyed a malfunctioning US spy satellite USA-193 using a RIM-161 Standard Missile 3.

Now, Iran has apparently destroyed a CIA satellite.

Several times I have argued on this website, that neither Israel nor the US will attack Iran. Would the USA sacrifice two million sons in the event? Israel can make just surgical strikes. In a country as large as Iran that would be almost worthless.

If the scoop of Yedihot Aharonot is true, then the theatre has changed and the USA cannot anymore attack Iran in its favored fashion. If Iran can blind imagery sensors on CIA satellites, it can also easily hit communications satellites. The American army relies on these satellites for its communications. Coordinating an American attack on Iran without imagery and communications satellites would require an American army that ceased to exist a generation ago.

Have we entered the era of Pax Iraniana?

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