(Bloomberg) -- Russia successfully launched an Iranian imaging satellite on Tuesday, as the countries deepen strategic ties amid the war in Ukraine and uncertainty over the fate of the Iranian nuclear deal. 

The “Khayyam” satellite, named after an 11th-century Persian poet and mathematician, was fired into space using a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a spaceport in Kazakhstan that’s operated by Moscow.

Iranian state TV said the satellite will be used to monitor Iran’s borders and collect data on agriculture, the environment, natural resources and natural disasters. It began sending data within half an hour of reaching its orbit, an Iranian official told the network.

In an Aug. 4 report, however, the Washington Post cited two unnamed Western security officials as saying the satellite was likely to be used by Russia for several months to assist its forces in Ukraine. Control would then be handed to Iran, whose own ability to spy on military targets in the Middle East would be “greatly enhanced,” the paper said. 

The Iran Space Agency denied the report and said the Islamic Republic has “exclusive use” of its capabilities, according to a statement cited by state TV. 

Diplomats on Monday concluded talks on rescuing the beleaguered 2015 nuclear accord. European mediators presented signatories with a final draft accord and were expected to ask the US and Iran to decide within weeks whether they back the blueprint or not.

US, Iran Face Deadline as Nuclear Talks End Without a Deal


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