[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/03/iran.satellite/art.iranlaunch.afp.gi.jpg caption="Reported satellite launch took place on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran."]
Senior Producer, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News
The Obama presidency represents a new era of hope. So here’s my hope: I hope we don’t all get blown up. It’s a hope I tried to keep alive, as I read the news that Iran had fired a satellite into space.
The launch happened late Monday or early Tuesday. Ironically, the Iranian satellite is called Omid—Farsi for “hope.” Iran is only the eighth country to send an object into orbit. Celebrating the launch of Omid, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “With God’s help and the desire for justice and peace, the official presence of the Islamic republic was registered in space.”
I’m all for justice and peace, but I’m not sure Ahmadinejad and I are on the same page about what these words mean. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman says, “This is a scientific and technical achievement and has no military aims.” Maybe I’m paranoid… but is this missile launch really about science? Iran may be interested in black holes, but I’m afraid they mean ‘black holes where my house used to be.’
When I think that Iran could have a bomb in a year, and that they have the missile capacity to put an object in orbit, I get anxious. If they can shoot a missile into space, they can probably shoot one just about anywhere. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell says, "It is certainly a reason for us to be concerned about Iran and its continued attempts to develop a ballistic missile program of increasingly long range." Israel agrees. Their space agency chairman Isaac Ben Israel says, “If they will take the same technology and use it for a ballistic missile, it means that they can deliver a bomb to Western Europe.”
Israel is really not happy about this Iranian satellite. And they have nuclear weapons already. And they’re one of the seven countries that already put objects in space. As the Pentagon spokesman says, this is a reason for concern.
In his new book The Inheritance, New York Times reporter David Sanger says that last year, the Israelis came to the U.S., looking for permission to fly over Iraq in order to drop ‘bunker buster’ bombs on Iranian nuclear sites. The U.S. said no. That’s probably a good thing. But it’s a good bet Israel is working on a Plan B. David Rothkopf, writing in FP, the Foreign Policy Magazine blog, writes, “without special munitions that can take out deeply buried targets in Iran, countries like Israel might be forced to use weapons that could make the sites uninhabitable, such as radiological (rather than nuclear) devices.”
I don’t even know what a radiological device is… let alone the difference between a radiological device and a nuclear device… but it sounds really scary. Particularly in the Middle East. I’m trying really hard to Keep Hope Alive over here; but to keep my hope alive, I have to keep me alive first.
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