Despite working with the growing Iranian space program in the past, a senior Russian space official said the country won't help Iran launch another satellite into orbit any time soon.
The Russian space program helped Iran launch its Sina-1 spy satellite into orbit in 2005, which helped kick start the Iranian space program. The country had been interested in space research development for several years prior to the 2005 launch, but didn't have the necessary technology to launch its own hardware.
Without the help of Russia, the Iranian Space Agency would have been unable to launch the 160-kilogram spy satellite into near-polar orbit, though the country now has ambitious space plans moving forward. Since 2005, the country successfully conducted its own satellite launch, sending another spy satellite into low orbit.
"I've had a number of meetings with various Iranian ambassadors -- I'm saying ambassadors because they change very, very frequently," Russian Federal Space Agency head Anatoly Perminov said during a recent press conference. "They were asking me different questions, and they were making proposals; I didn't understand what they meant, and speaking honestly, I didn't find any reasonable feasible aspects in their questions."
The western world is still concerned with Russia assisting Iran with its space endeavors because launching satellites into orbit goes hand in hand with the possibility of launching long-range ballistic missiles. After helping the country launch its first spy satellite in 2005, Russian officials vehemently denied Iran posed a threat to the world -- it seems a combination of political pressure and a new outlook of Iran has changed Russia's mind.
President Barack Obama plans to meet with Russian leaders, and one of the topics discussed will be Russia's plans to help Iran and other nations launch satellites. Although the United States and other space nations sometimes help countries unable to launch their own space technology, helping Iran and countries deemed a threat to the world is obviously frowned upon.
Pres. Obama and other western leaders are watching North Korea closely, as it's possible Iran may call on Kim Jong-II to help launch satellites. Scientists recently claimed North Korea has the infrastructure to launch a missile capable of hitting "Alaska, Hawaii, and roughly half of the lower 48 states."