Iran tries, fails, to join space age just yet

By Phil Plait | August 19, 2008 2:48 pm

It looks like Iran tried to launch a satellite recently, but it exploded or otherwise failed during the second stage firing 100 miles above the Earth.

I am, in general, supportive of other nations joining those of us who are space-faring. However, in this case I’m a little concerned. I think the U.S. government has grossly over-propogandized the threat of Iran — which in itself is a problem, since the White House can now use the idea of a space-going Iran as yet another chance to rattle sabers against them — but I am no fan of the current President, Ahmadinejad, who is a holocaust denier and no fan of Jews. The Space Race against the Soviets in the 1950s was a legitimate one: those who controlled space could control the planet. I have no joy in hearing that a country run by a madman is capable of launching satellites into orbit.

I gave a rueful chuckle when I read this bit:

Ahmadinejad was present at this launch on Saturday, and offered a prayer before liftoff: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O God! We beseech you to hasten the lofty advent of your heir [the hidden Shiite imam]. O God! Present him with good health and your assistance; and grant us the honor of being his best companions and to testify before him.”

Perhaps God doesn’t listen to Ahmadinejad, or maybe He has little interest in rockets. Draw your own conclusions. But religion aside, this should have very interesting repurcussions on politics of the region.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Politics, Religion

Comments (63)

  1. Viewer 3

    Everyone knows God is only a fan of American rockets.

  2. Viewer 3

    Correction… God is only a fan of NASA rockets.

  3. Helioprogenus

    Technically, Ahmadinejad does not “run” Iran. The Ayatolla actually holds more power and political sway then Ahmadinejad can ever dream of. Iran is really a theocracy, and any apparent power the President of Iran may have is just illusory. It would be like Billy Graham dictating the policies and directions of the United States. If we can learn anything from Iran’s example, it’s that a theocracy is not just a distant ambiguous form of government, but one that can realistically develop when the ignorance of the general populace reaches a certain level.

    I agree with you in the fact that most of the anti-Iran talk is empty rhetoric and ultimately chest puffing, with some sabre rattling thrown in. Every time either the US or Israel threatens Iran with possible retaliation, the price of oil shoots sky high. I wonder what kind of party those bastards at Exxon/BP/Shell/etc., throw when a sovereign nation threatens to attack another oil rich one on murky evidence at best.

  4. Why do people use advancement in space technology in such a political and competitive way?
    I don’t care what a country’s leaders are like, I think it is a good thing that they dedicate resources towards scientific research and space exploration.
    I know this would have practically have been blasphemy during the cold war, if someone had said this on either side, USA or USSR.
    But, I am certain it was a good thing for science, in the long run, that both sides chose to keep exploring.

    Of course, I am not so naïve as to think that it is good that technology that can be so easily abused, and used as a weapon, is being controlled by people who have openly express their desire to hurt other people, but if it is not being used as a weapon, then I say, “good for them.” I hope that this will just be a temporary set back for Iranian scientists, and that they will be able to learn from the experiment, and do better in their next attempts.

    I also hope that Iran will soon be a country where all its citizens can freely and openly express their own ideas, worship as they please, and be treated as equals, no matter their religion, sect, sex, race … you get the idea. I also hope that my taxes will decrease next year and that the government that I live under, here in Spain, will stop wasted my money on programs that I disagree with.

    I hope for so many things – you might say that I am full of it.

  5. kuhnigget

    Seconding Helioprogenus on who runs Iran. Ahmadinejad is not popular with his own people, largely for economic reasons. Younger Iranians, especially, seem to see him as a stooge of the bearded bigots, rolling back liberal reforms that had started to gain momentum under his predecessor.

    What is truly sad is when western leaders (quote unquote, in certain cases) take this idiot’s blustering seriously, as if he truly were a threat. He is a perfect example of a petty little man who would best be dealt with by ignoring him. The best response to the latest reports of rocket launches, would be to draw attention to their silly photoshopped press photos. Perhaps these laughable pasteups fool the knuckleheads with their butts propped in the air gossiping with Allah, but anyone with half a brain can see right through them.

    But again, as Helioprogenus pointed out, dealing rationally with Iran wouldn’t fit in with the agendas of the petroleum giants.

  6. I have heard that the youth in Iran want to know more about Western ways, and are unhappy with their government. Why my own gov’t doesn’t talk about this is baffling, as is almost everything else they do (or do not do).

  7. The fact that they were able to get a rocket 100 miles up is quite an accomplishment for them… and quite disconcerting for us.

  8. Doc

    @Helioprogenus
    “It would be like Billy Graham dictating the policies and directions of the United States.”

    Actually, I think Ted Haggard might be more appropriate – at least up until the scandals in late 2006.

  9. Cheyenne

    Probably more disconcerting for the Israelis….

    Iran already funds Hezbollah and exports rocket technology to various terrorist groups. The rockets that rain in from Gaza and Lebanon are all Iranian made or copies of Iranian technology.

    I hope the youth in that country can turn the direction of their nation. Especially before they get the bomb and the means to deliver it.

  10. Hey, speaking of God liking rockets, I wonder what He thinks of this plan:
    http://www.blessitt.com/?q=thecrossinspace_main

  11. Robbie

    I think the economic sanction policies with countries like Iran are totally backwards. If we had free trade with nations like this it would raise their people up and quicken the elimination of their draconian and archaic form of government, I think. Can anyone besides a politician say sanctions work and keep a straight face?

  12. Todd W.

    @Robbie

    Good point about sanctions. They typically do not hurt the leaders; instead harming the regular Joe Schmoes.

  13. Jose

    I have heard that the youth in Iran want to know more about Western ways,
    When I was freshman in college, one of my suitemates was Iranian. He taught me a lot more about “western ways” than I ever taught him.

  14. I have no joy in hearing that a country run by a madman is capable of launching satellites into orbit

    A country run by a madman.

    Actually, the problem is that almost every country in this planet is run by over-nationallistic madmen. Iran is no exception, of course.

    Perhaps, a solution is privately own satellites. But most corporations are also run by madmen. I suppose that if you are not enough mad, then you cannot be able of launching satellites.

  15. Robbie

    Along with the free trade we could deliver copies the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Federalist Papers in whatever language they speak in whatever country we decide to engage in free trade with hidden in the traded goods.

  16. Helioprogenus

    @ Doc, my mind wouldn’t let me handle the catastrophe that would be Ted Haggard in the American Ayatollah role, but you’re right, that would be a better analogy.

    As for why our government doesn’t discuss the internal dissent within other nations like Iran Phil is because it ultimately comes down to our administration’s black and white philosophy and the profiteering of the military-industrial complex at the sight of war. We can’t view Iran as absolute enemies if we actually knew that the Ayatolla, or Ahmadinejad do not represent the views of a significant minority of Iranians. Besides, who’s going to get rich off the arms deals and surging oil prices if we don’t have a perceived threat like Iran. Let’s not forget that they have signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and if they want to significanly improve their industry and economy, basing it on nuclear power can’t hurt. What we should be doing is openly allowing their conversion to a nuclear economy, while at the same time, negotiating some kind of deal where the waste fissile material is transported and contained in a politically stable environment outside of Iran.

  17. Robbie

    Helioprogenus and Phil, I have heard President Bush talk like we have about the Iranian people in this post several times. It’s not a center piece like it should, but the view you, Helioprogenus, seem to have isn’t exactly correct either.

  18. As Helioprogenus put it, if the US Administration discussed the internal dissent within other nations then the internal dissent in US will be also discussed.

  19. Robbie

    I really butchered that last post. Here’s the corrected version:

    Helioprogenus, I have heard President Bush talk like we have about the Iranian people in this post several times. Leveraging their dissent is not a center piece like it should be, but the view you seem to have isn’t exactly correct either.

  20. Phil Plait for President (PPP), plz.

    I still don’t understand how a theocratic system like that is actually capable of working. It sounds as if the government got stuck in Middle Ages, while the rest of the civilians are already well into the 21st century. Just my 2 cents.

  21. Delbert Grady

    Shouldn’t we be encouraging Iran to make technological advancements? If you really have a problem with their current government, that is the fastest and surest way to force progress.

    I think it’s entirely out of line for a scientist such as yourself to rejoice over this setback for Iran simply because political disagreements with their president. Equal in importance to the separation of church from state should be the separation of science from politics. It’s not as if Iran will be building a Death Star once they get a satellite off the ground.

  22. Helioprogenus

    There is no such thing as a correct view when it comes to such ambiguous topics as we’re discussing. There are educated and perhaps slightly more applicable views, but we can’t expect every topic to have a penultimate point. I’ll be the first to agree that our analysis is going to be flawed, considering our lack of intimate details within Iranian politics, but we can approach positions that go beyond political rhetoric, and attempt at attaining a greater understanding of the underlying framework for a given issue. International politics is very much like a chess game to a two dimensional chess board being. It takes a great deal of time and effort attempting to understand the game, and even then, there are strategies that go beyond anything we can even fathom. We just have to try our best, and most importantly, maintain a healthy dose of skepticism. Jingoistic attitudes are not going to really help us understand any of these complex political situations (I’m not accusing anyone here of maintaining such faith in national policy, especially since the current administration’s bumbled everything they’ve ever attempted).

  23. justcorbly

    Helioprogenus, the lesson of Iran is not that an ignorant populace allows dictators to thrive. The Iranian people are actually rather well educated. The lesson of Iran is that a small minority of devoted fanatics can impose their totalitarian rule on a vast majority of opposed and indiferrent people.

  24. Mikel

    “grossly over-propogandized the threat of Iran”

    Are you actually saying that Iran is ramping up nuclear power just to produce electricity (for example), and not for making weapons? Just where did you get that idea, Phil?

    – Mikel

  25. changcho

    They’ll try again, and, eventually they’ll succeed.

  26. Helioprogenus

    @justcorbly,
    I didn’t mean that every single person in Iran is ignorant. The well educated segment of the population represents about 20%, which would amount to a significant minority. The ignorance that I was speaking of is not for lack of education, but the disbelief that such a thing could happen to what they saw as an advancing country. The Western influence within Iran before Khomeini’s Revolution (thanks to the State Departments clandestine efforts at deposing Iran’s democratically elected prime-minister and placing the Shah and essentially preventing Iran from nationalizing their oil reserves), was quite significant. As already mentioned, the youth in Iran is tired of economic oppression and embargoes. They are ready to embrace the West, but understandably with Reservation. They know how easily the West can turn against perceived economic threats (All the noise that the West is aiming towards Russia for invading Georgia is undermined by their silence when Israel did the same to Palestine), and ultimately, the power of exploitation for one’s own economic benefits is much too strong. The way we’ve vilified Venezuela for example, when China’s not exactly more tolerant with their human rights practices. Why Venezuela? Because they’ve nationalized their oil reserves, and kicked Shell, and Exxon out of billions of dollars of exploitative wealth.

  27. Due to international sanctions the Iranians were prevented from purchasing high-strength maraging steel for use in their uranium enrichment program. In response, they developed a process to produce centrifuge rotors using carbon fibre rather than from the maraging steel that was denied to them. The ability to fashion a (some say superior) substitute material for the recognised standard rotor steel was by all accounts an impressive technical achievement.

    Iran produces highly competent engineers and technicians. With steady attention, trial, error, and perseverance they’ll similarly solve any problems they encounter with their space vehicle program. You’ll remember that the Germans, the Soviets and the Americans had numerous failures and even catastrophes during the initial period of their missile programs.

    Bear in mind that by the end of WWII the Americans (and Soviets) had a highly developed industrial base and capability. In addition, they were free to attract engineers, technicians and technology from anywhere in the world while they were proceeding with their nuclear and space programs. In contrast the Iranians have been labouring under international economic sanctions for years. They have been forced to develop significant amounts of material, technology and manufacturing capability entirely on their own due to the sanctions.

  28. Gary Ansorge

    Iranians(who prefer being called Persians) that I have known were well educated, thoughtful people. There is a grass roots, pro freedom orientation in Iran. It’s probably best to NOT refer to it in our western media, as that puts pressure on the Iranian government to root it out.

    ,,,and yes, the president of Iran is a figure head. ONLY the head ayatollah has real power in that theocracy.
    A theocracy is just a religious dictatorship, no different from any other dictatorship. It is rule by man, not by law,,,

    GAry 7

  29. C

    This discussion reminds me of a clever freshman honors seminar at a state-run school. A lot of oxygen gets consumed, people feel proud of themselves for “taking the other viewpoint,” and at the end of the evening, no one is interesting enough to get a date.

    I’ll believe that Iran is populated by curious, intelligent, open-minded people when those curious, intelligent, open-minded people overthrow their theocracy. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Until then, I will assume that their government speaks for them. It’s easy to sound intelligent when you throw around terms like “military-industrial complex” and “nationalized oil wealth”; much more difficult is establishing how it has anything at all to do with this issue.

    Nothing I’ve read on this site has changed this fundamental fact: I will be very, very, VERY worried when Iran has the means to put a toaster into orbit, much less a nuclear weapon. I hope you will be, too.

  30. hass

    the Iranians know a lot more about us and “our ways” than we do of them and their ways. And why should we believe that the Iranians “failed” in this rocket launch? just because the Bush administration tells us? Gee, found any WMDs in Iraq yet?

    The Iraniasn are rightfully proud and nationalistic people who resent being pushed around. Ahmadinejad was voted into office. Get over it.

  31. kuhnigget

    @ C:

    I have said the same thing about the U.S. population during the Bush years. Where were those “curious, intelligent, open-minded people” in 2004? Oh, yeah. 59,054,087 of them were voting for GWB. Again.

  32. @ C,

    so you mean that I should assume that George W. Bush speaks for you?

    It’s very easy to say those things when you’re at home laying in your couch and not in a country that can get you killed for doing something against the institutionalized power. At least they cannot be fully blamed for choosing an ignorant leader on account of fear, the Americans don’t have the same excuse.

    We should be helping those Iranians to overthrow their government, and not by giving them weapons like the US do many times, but giving them voice inside and outside their country. Certainly assuming that their leaders speak for all of them is not a good start.

    Cheers
    Nabla

  33. Helioprogenus

    @C, so I presume that it’s healthier to believe the propaganda, hype, and paranoia about Iran then to actually try to analyze the situation to have a more thorough understanding? It’s easy to dismiss the rest of our argument when you pick and choose a single term from everything we’ve been saying and relating it as hot air. As Kuhnigget pointed out, not all Americans represent Bush, and in fact, it can be argued that the majority even when he was elected do not. Most just didn’t bother voting because they didn’t feel someone in politics truly represented their views. Yet, that is more a problem with our two party system then the absolute lack of apathy for the average voter.

    Anyway, back to your fear of Iran, I would argue that Iran’s fear of the US or Israel doing something equally stupid is as justifiable. Who’s a bigger threat to world peace at the moment? If Israel decides to attack suspect targets within Iranian airspace, the ramifications are far more worrisome then any potential capability that Iran may have to send a spy satellite into orbit. If the same neo-conservative chicken hawks in our Administration decide to instigate an international response from Iran whose at fault there? Ultimately, change will come within Iran, but you can’t expect it to happen in a day, or even a year. Look at Iraq, when the Kurds, through US support decided to undertake an uprising against Saddam Hussein, who suffered? That bastards who controlled the arms and oil trade sure didn’t. The Kurds just ended up on the wrong side of the political game and to this day, through Turkish oppression, as well as that of the Iraqi counsel (with the green light support of the US government), they are still denied their justified rights for self-determination and autonomy. If you were Iranian, and against the government, how would you react knowing the history of the region? What if those who call for a new Iranian revolution are socially more liberal, but still economically as conservative? What if the leaders of the New Revolution still want to maintain nationalized oil policies (then we would still vilify them as we do Venezuela)? The West doesn’t want a democracy, until it is done on their terms. As long as exploitation is guaranteed, the revolution can’t come soon enough, but if there’s no guarantee, then the revolution can wait till the time is right.

  34. RL

    Simply amazing. On to the next blog.

  35. Blu-Ray-Ven

    th BA says “I gave a rueful chuckle when I read this bit”

    I had a good chuckle at the title, iran tring to joing the space age, lol. that would be like india trying to go to mars. whats the point, they need to join the modern world first, but while they’re trying to do that they are poisening the planet

  36. Grinspoon

    Policy of threatening, and then building up the threat of Iran is what emboldens them and what also inforces the backwards anti-west sentiments.
    Everything i have read which points to actual evidence, reports, inspections has said they aren’t developing nuclear bombs, they are being co-operative with inspectors and if they did want to build nukes, they’d be many many years from being able to do it. Everything negative are just statements which contradict the evidence. Being a sceptic i have to go with the evidence.
    Best way to engage countries like Iran is to show them how great the west is, how great democracy is. We’re constantly told they are a threat, yet they are the country constantly being directly threatened by us. What would you expect them to do? Like us? Or build up their defences. Our side has a long history of messing with theirs. They have never over thrown our governments or tried to.
    All the current policies do is turn off the youth from liking the west, and push them more towards the fanatics. They are the ones that should bring about change in Iran, and they like our culture and want it. You mess with the country and it’ll turn another generation against us. All the current policies and attitudes towards them re-inforce the ideas they have that the west wants to control them, deny their rights, their ability to choose to do what they want to do, for our own selfish interests.

    I always remember that story about how they flew soviet planes low over the US so they could see the big houses, the swimming pools ect, and it made them realise communism would never be able to offer the people all that.

    Also worth to note how Iran has been actively involved in calming down Iraq, which gets little media play. When Ahmadinejad visits Iraq, he announces it, and walks through the streets. He doesn’t do it secretly and stay in secured areas.

    Does anyone else also think, that space faring countries don’t like the competition for launching satellites? It’s big business. You don’t want people being able to do it themselves, or get a better price from elsewhere.

  37. Ty

    “I think the U.S. government has grossly over-propogandized (sic- Phil- enable your spell check)- the threat of Iran — which in itself is a problem, since the White House can now use the idea of a space-going Iran as yet another chance to rattle sabers against them — but I am no fan of the current President, Ahmadinejad, who is a holocaust denier and no fan of Jews.”

    With all due respect Mr. Plait (author of the best sci-blog on teh intertoobs) Aqua-Vel-Vijad (stolen from Dennis Miller) and his minions in Iran are a real threat (not an “over propogandized” -sic- one)- and are becoming a larger one with every passing day. The leadership of Iran specifically and repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel. They want to “wipe Israel off the map in a ball of fire”. That tiny nation has no designs of imperialism in the region, and continues to live under the constant onslaught of barbaric assaults against their civilian population.

    What do you mean by “rattle sabers”? Specifically? Economic sanctions?

    “ruefull chuckle”? Wha wha what?

  38. jick

    Frankly, as a citizen of a country that might plunge into war due to the US, but not by any chance due to Iran (at least in the foreseeable future), I don’t get what the fuss is all about.

    We have a country, run by a madman (elected twice), that invades other nations across the globe AND is capable of launching satellites, nuclear missiles, space shuttles, and all other things into the space. Does that concern me? Of course.

    Do I panic every time the US launches another satellite or rocket?

    Oh come on, if I did that, I’d be screaming in an asylum by now.

    Calm down, folks. An average American has a better chance of dying from his own president’s stupidity, much more than from Iranian President Mr. Whoever’s stupidity.
    Even more so for almost all average non-Americans (sans Iranians and their neighbors).

    In fact this could turn out to be a good thing. If Iran does acquire reasonable air defense technology, that might deter America’s always-threatened-fellow from going paranoid again and “protect itself” by launching missiles to Iran, just so that Iran doesn’t get to strike first, you know. A brilliant strategy when you have the world’s biggest bully as your patron.

  39. WJM

    There would be some poetry in the country that gave the world Persian astronomy, reaching out in a scientific way into space.

  40. Don Snow

    Michael L. says –

    “Hey, speaking of God liking rockets, I wonder what He thinks of this plan:
    http://www.blessitt.com/?q=thecrossinspace_main

    Well, live and learn. Makes me feel good.

    About the Holy Bible in space: after the first US of A manned capsule burst into fire, spacelore has it, that after that, there was a Holy Bible on each manned shot.

    Think the Iranians could try putting a Koran on theirs. Maybe we could settle this Jihad in orbit. I wish.

  41. Don Snow

    Thanks, Phil –

    Actually, I’m heartened by Iran’s attempt. I can’t help but hope that once they have the view from Earth orbit, their theocracy may mellow.

    As long as the people of Iran want a theocracy, we’re wrong to try to change that. I see nothing wrong with theocracies. That’s as far as I can go.

    I wouldn’t mind if every nation nationalized its oil.

    I much prefer an assembly of sovereign nations to rule by UN.

  42. Dunc

    I have no joy in hearing that a country run by a madman is capable of launching satellites into orbit.

    That’s pretty much how a lot of the world feels about the USA right now…

    Are you actually saying that Iran is ramping up nuclear power just to produce electricity (for example), and not for making weapons? Just where did you get that idea, Phil?

    I dunno – how about the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate?

    The leadership of Iran specifically and repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel. They want to “wipe Israel off the map in a ball of fire”.

    Except that’s not what was actually said. You “quote” is a fabrication.

  43. Robert

    Maybe it wasn’t a launch failure. It was probably shot down by the Zionists with a US missile. Hey, that makes as much sense as anything the liberals have posted in this comment section!

    Robert

  44. Charles

    “The fact that they were able to get a rocket 100 miles up is quite an accomplishment for them… and quite disconcerting for us.”

    There are hobbyist rocketeers in the US that have gotten a hand-built rocket as high as ~70 miles.

  45. kuhnigget

    Hey, that makes as much sense as anything the liberals have posted in this comment section!

    Heh-heh! Those talking points sure are effective! Heh-heh! Liberals! Heh! BOOOO! Ha. Skeered ya. Liberals! Ha! Skeered ya again.

  46. BMcP

    Ahmadinejad is a religious nut as well as a Holocuast denier and extremely anti-Jewish:

    “They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets.”

    “”The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land. As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.”

    Yeah I can imagine such a person with the ability to launch rockets capable of achieving orbit. For all his quotes and blustering though Ahmadinejad isn’t really in charge, it is “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation. The people do not elect him, he is elected by the Assembly of Experts, 86 Islamic scholars (clerics) instead. If you wonder what a theocratic nation actually looks like, there you go, the priesthood makes all the real decisions.

  47. Don Snow

    Thank you BMcP.

    Not all theocracies are bad. Vatican City isn’t doing the Inquisition anymore.

    I’ll close, while I’m still on the blog.

  48. hassani

    “Theocratic” Iran has a higher percentage of FEMALE university students than the US, as well as FEMAL vice presidents.

  49. Joe Meils

    It’s okay, I’m sure they’ll just photoshop the launch of the satillite into orbit.

  50. Joe Meils

    The more I think about this, the more questions I have about an Iran space program:

    1) what will a space suit burka look like?

    2) Will swords make better weapons aboard space stations?

    3) Will they have to create a GPS insturment that will continuously orient their vehicles between Mecca and the sun?

    Just odd thoughts.

  51. It's worse than you think

    What will we ever do if a country led by a religious fanatic develops space-faring technology??

    http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/20/gen.bush.transcript/

    Oh noes!

  52. StevoR

    Well I’d like to offer Iran my congratulations. I’m cheering them on & wishing them the best success fastest.

    Look, Iran is NOT evil, no more than any nation & Iranians are not evil people. Please check your stereotypes at the doors & think people.

    Iranians even devout Muslim ones laugh, love & live as much as we do. Their blood too is red, their hearts beat and thrill as ours do.

    The Bad Astronomer said :

    “I am, in general, supportive of other nations joining those of us who are space-faring. However, in this case I’m a little concerned. I think the U.S. government has grossly over-propogandized the threat of Iran … ”

    That’s putting it mildly.

    Israel has 200 nukes and other WMDs, if any nation threatens the peace & stability of the Middle East -or as its more accurately described South West Asia or the Islamic / Irano-Arabic world region it is Israel NOT Iran.

    Israel is under NO realistic threta whatsoever.
    Quite the contrary, Israel *is* the threat!


    Israel has attacked invaded and occupied its neighbours
    numerous times since its dubious creation at the expense of the region’s indigenous Palestinean population. (Most recently Lebanon – again. :-( )

    Iran has been attacked – & not been the attacker. Iraq attacked as a US proxy & now is occupied by the US for the crime of having no WMDs and lots of oil. Iran has no WMDs and lots of oil… & now we’re hearing similar neocon rubbish rhetoric against it.

    Until the Islamic revolution the CIA and the US dominated Iran and caused many deaths, considerable suffering and awful human right abuses under their puppet Shah.

    The USA has troops on Iran’s borders & are militarily occupying its neighbour Iraq, Russia has troops on Iran’s northern borders and have invaded the nearby nation of Georgia. Isreal has openly and menacingly shown off its rehearsal to attack Iran and has attacked Syria and lebanbon and occupies Palestine and parts of Syria and Lebanon (Shebaa farms) today.

    All three of those hostile nations (Russia, Israel, USA) are armed with vast stockpiles of WMDs incl. nukes. Iran has NO such deterrent against them attacking it.

    Hmm … Gee in their position wouldn’t you want nukes and a plausible deterrent capability too? Well???

    Truth is, I hope Iran does get the Bomb -its probably the only thing that will prevent war coming via a needless bitof US-Isreali aggression.

    Why does Israel have so-called “right to defend itself” (which it does by aggressively & needlesssly invading and occupying other countries – some “defense”! ;-( ) & yet Iran & the Palestineans supposedly don’t??? Well???

    BA : “— which in itself is a problem, since the White House can now use the idea of a space-going Iran as yet another chance to rattle sabers against them — but I am no fan of the current President, Ahmadinejad, who is a holocaust denier and no fan of Jews…”

    Why is it suddenly a crime to be ‘no fan’ of the Jews?

    Why should anyone be a ‘fan’ of a religion like Judaism that is intrinsically racist and genocidal?

    Y’know all that bull about a wargod sky fairy choosing one “Chosen race” – no make that ten chosen tribes (2 of which remain intact now.) & giving them some one elses “Promised land” even though that land (ancient Canaan & now modern Palestine) was already the home of other arguably far more reasonably thinking & civilised peoples – Canaanites, Jebusites, Amalekites, Moabites, Philistines (who were actually quite civilised) & even their near cousins the Samaritans? (Who btw. the Jewish tribes didn’t see as ‘good’ but & rather did & still do detest – which is the actual *point* of Jesus’s parable – were that teacher around today, that parable would more than likely be the parable of “the good Palestinean.”)

    Yahwah / Jehovah
    (originally a nasty war & only one of many in the
    old Israelite pantheon) actually orders a series of genocides against
    these peoples.
    King Saul’s worst crime against his God was to refrain from murdering an Amalekite cheiftain. Check the Old Testament / Talmud / Torah for yourselves if you don’t belive me. :-(

    Sorry but I think Judaism is far too much of a modern ‘sacred cow’ & its time its “immune from traditonal criticism” status was revoked. Few if any other religions – and no good ones – are as hereditary, as racist and as brutal. Which, of course, is NOT to say we should persecute the Jews or mistreat them in any way but for chrissakes lets not fall into the trap of ignoring the darker aspects of their overgrown tribalistic cult either!

    Lets NOT cheer Jews & Israelis on and be their blind “fans” in
    supporting their counter-productive, ultimately harmful-to-everyone claims to a land that just ain’t theirs any more than we cheer on, say the Serbian Orthodox fanatics in their claims to rule “Greater Serbia”.
    :-(

    It never fails to amaze me how easily the Neocons & Jewish owned media get USA citizens to put the interests of the military racist theocracy of Israel above those of their own nation. :-(

    BA : ” The Space Race against the Soviets in the 1950s was a legitimate one: those who controlled space could control the planet. I have no joy in hearing that a country run by a madman is capable of launching satellites into orbit.”

    Too late. The USA is already that country. :-(

    Bush is a madman – and a war criminal who has invaded &
    occupied sovereign territories just ike the Nazis and Japanese did in WWII & is responsible for torturing his prisoners too – & he has access to the world’s greatest (or should that be worst?) stockpile of nuclear weaponry…

    So if any nation should be disarmed by force to prevent it threatening the rest of the planet – well its the good ole US of A & NOT Iran. (With Israel equally in that position and China a not-so distant third.) :-(

    I’m sure many here will hate what I’ve said here – but please stop & think about it because, like it or not, its the stark truth. :-(

    Oh & insulting, censoring or attacking me ain’t going to change that reality either. Just think about all this that’s all I ask.

  53. StevoR

    Joe Meils said :

    “It’s okay, I’m sure they’ll just photoshop the launch of the satillite into orbit.”

    I don’t think so – they’re Iranian not Chinese!

    & then asked :

    “The more I think about this, the more questions I have about an Iran space program:

    1) what will a space suit burka look like?”

    Sexy! ;-)


    “2) Will swords make better weapons aboard space stations?”

    Yes. Unlike guns they won’t breach your hull integrity! ;-)


    “3) Will they have to create a GPS insturment that will continuously orient their vehicles between Mecca and the sun?”

    No they’re smart enough to know where Mecca is without needing to do that. ;-)

    “Just odd thoughts.”

    Hmm .. Odd and a bit Islamophobically nasty I’d say. ;-) :-(

    Course, you’re entitled to your opinion although you seem to be thinking in stereotypes rather than from any actual understanding of Iran & its people. Not that that should be a surprise … Sigh. :-(

  54. BMcP

    @StevoR

    I have nothing against the Iranian people, it is just their government and those in charge I have strong disdain for. I feel bad for the Iranian people, it would be difficult to topple the theocracy they live under and establish a free society.

    Okay, I will admit I don’t care much for the Muslim religion either, but that is just one ingredient in the dangerous stew that is their regime.

    I don’t get Judaism either but to be honest, but those ‘crimes of Judaism’ you mention are what? 3000 years old now? Judaism hasn’t been a treat to anyone anywhere in recent memory and yes I do give the Jews a lot of slack, after being kicked around by various Christian and Muslim governments for close to 2000 years and the target of repeated pogroms, slaughters and genocides I totally support the idea of them having a sliver a land a little bigger then Vermont to call their own.

  55. StevoR

    Italics Correction coz I still can’t edit here. Sigh. :-( :
    _________________________

    The Bad Astronomer said :

    “I am, in general, supportive of other nations joining those of us who are space-faring. However, in this case I’m a little concerned. I think the U.S. government has grossly over-propogandized the threat of Iran … ”

    That’s putting it mildly.

    Israel has 200 nukes and other WMDs, if any nation threatens the peace & stability of the Middle East -or as its more accurately described South West Asia or the Islamic / Irano-Arabic world region it is Israel NOT Iran.

    Israel is under NO realistic threat whatsoever.
    Quite the contrary, Israel *is* the threat!

    ——

    Iran, like Palestine, is (to quote Shakespeares apt line) far more sinned against than sinning.

    Israel, OTOH, is far more sinning than sinned against.

    What will I take I wonder before the USA wakes up to this?

    How bad an atrocity does Israel need to committ before the USA, & the Western world generally, says “Enough!?”

    BTW. Israel already tortures, bombs civilians, uses collective punishment, has committed “ethnic cleansing”, it was created by Zionist terrorism, has an Apartheid wall far worse than Berlin’s, kills women, men and children indiscrimiately, assassinates political opponents, invades and threatens neighbouring nations, occupies neighbouring nations, ad nauseam, ad nauseam, ad nauseam …

    What will it take before the USA wakes up to the reality that the Jewish lobby & state is brutally exploiting them at your expense and is really the “Bad guy” & NOT the good in this tragic conflict?? :-(

  56. StevoR

    BMcP said :
    “Judaism hasn’t been a t(h?)reat to anyone anywhere in recent memory ..”

    Just ask the Palestineans!

    Or the Lebanese!

    Or the Syrians!

    Or the Iraquis!

    In the last few deacdes Israel has attacked all those nations and not a one of them has attacked it – except the Palestineans who are legitimately fighting for their freedom & their country against overwhelming odds like the French resistance did. :-(

    Yes the Holocaust happened & was blody awful (& for all the Gypsies, slavs, disabled, homosexuals, German dissidents & other non-jews who also died) but no, I don’t think that means the Jews deserve “slack” when it comes to committing atrocities against others – quite the reverse –
    they better than anyone else should understand how it feels and go to any lengths NOT to copy the Nazi-like tactics they currently are engaging in.

    Sadly, Israel is Hitler’s greatest triumph – in his legacy of transforming the Jews into a people as ugly, nationistic, brutal, cruel and thuggish as the Nazis. :-(

    Hitler’s defaeat would have been if the Jews had returned to their old homes and resumed their lives in Europe – wiser and more compassionate &
    better for their suffering rather than brutalised and hardened into savages by it.

  57. StevoR

    Another @#!@#$ italics correction (SIGH) :

    ——–
    BMcP

    “Judaism hasn’t been a t(h?)reat to anyone anywhere in recent memory ..”


    Just ask the Palestineans!

    Or the Lebanese!

    Or the Syrians!

    Or the Iraquis!

    In the last few deacdes Israel has attacked all those nations and not a one of them has attacked it – except the Palestineans who are legitimately fighting for their freedom & their country against overwhelming odds like the French resistance did.

    Yes the Holocaust happened & was blody awful (& for all the Gypsies, slavs, disabled, homosexuals, German dissidents & other non-jews who also died)

    But no, I don’t think that means the Jews deserve “slack” when it comes to committing atrocities against others – quite the reverse –
    they better than anyone else should understand how it feels and go to any lengths NOT to copy the Nazi-like tactics they currently are engaging in.

    Sadly, Israel is Hitler’s greatest triumph – in his legacy of transforming the Jews into a people as ugly, nationistic, brutal, cruel and thuggish as the Nazis.

    Hitler’s defeat would have been if the Jews had returned to their old homes and resumed their lives in Europe – wiser and more compassionate &
    better for their suffering rather than brutalised and hardened into savages by it. :-(

    “Never again” should mean just that NOT “Never again” against us only – & allowing us to do that to others.” :-(

  58. BMcP

    @StevoR

    You know that Syria was one of the nations that declared war on Israel in 1948, right? Oh and one of the nations that launched one of the surprise attacks in the Yom Kippur war? Or one of the nations massing troops for a war in 1967, sparking the Six Day War?

    I also remember the invasion of south Lebanon, it was a response for repeated rocket attacks on civilian centers in Israel, what nation wouldn’t launch a counterattack like that if they could? As for Iraq in 1981, I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want a regime that hostile who supported terrorist groups against me either building a nuke.

    But this is getting way off the original BA topic of Iran’s failure at launching a rocket into space so this is all I am going to say on the subject, you may respond if you want, but that’s it for me.

    I just hope the space program goals of Moon colonization, Mars manned exploration, Darwin’s search for rocky extra-solar worlds, the international space station, as well as New Horizons, MESSAGER and related probes are successful. There, that is my hope. Peace out dude.

  59. Sili

    I think it’s unfair to lay the theocracy at the feet of ignorance. Remember, Khomeini was greeted as a liberator – delivering his people from the corrupt oppression of the US-backed shah.

    Additionally, Iran is a democracy (of sorts – for better of worse). The last president, Khatami, was considered quite the progressive – which I guess just goes to show how little influence the president actually has.

    Literacy is at 82%, which isn’t bad after only 27 years. And the populace is generally young (sadly a result of the first Gulf War – Iran-Iraq – anyone remember that?), so it would be safe to say that change would likely be forthcoming.

    But of course we do our best to antagonise yet another generation, so now you’ll continue to be The Great Satan for yet another coupla decades or five. Both sides will be able to rally against “The Other” and everything will be exactly the same for the unforseeable future.

    Bah!

  60. StevoR

    The BadAstronomer wrote :

    “I gave a rueful chuckle when I read this bit:

    Ahmadinejad was present at this launch on Saturday, and offered a prayer before liftoff: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O God! We beseech you to hasten the lofty advent of your heir [the hidden Shiite imam]. O God! Present him with good health and your assistance; and grant us the honor of being his best companions and to testify before him.”

    Hmm.. How is that much different from saying “Godspeed John Glenn” or wishing othermissions “God speeed & so forth?

    Or even the Apollo 8 crew reading from the book of Genesis as theyorbited the Moon? Did you laugh at that too?

    A little consistency please – the hypocrisy and double standards really get to me.

    Go Iran! If the USA can have a space program why shouldn’t they?

  61. StevoR

    BMcP Said on August 20th, 2008 at 1:15 pm


    “@StevoR

    You know that Syria was one of the nations that declared war on Israel in 1948, right? Oh and one of the nations that launched one of the surprise attacks in the Yom Kippur war? Or one of the nations massing troops for a war in 1967, sparking the Six Day War? I also remember the invasion of south Lebanon, it was a response for repeated rocket attacks on civilian centers in Israel, what nation wouldn’t launch a counterattack like that if they could? As for Iraq in 1981, I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want a regime that hostile who supported terrorist groups against me either building a nuke.

    But this is getting way off the original BA topic of Iran’s failure at launching a rocket into space so this is all I am going to say on the subject, you may respond if you want, but that’s it for me.”

    Okay, thanks for giving your permission & letting me have the last word I will respond & correct you.

    Yes, of course, I know the regions history – clearly quite a bit better than you do. :-P

    The truth is Israel was imposed on the entire Muslim world, built on stolen land won by – lets never forget Zionist terrorism (it was the Jews who actually introduced terrorism to the region) – in violation of the British promise to the leaders of the Arab Revolt that the region would be theirs as a reward for them overthrowing the Ottoman Empire in World War I.

    The British – then the worlds’ Imperial superpower – also promised the same land – that was promised already to the indigenous population – to the Zionist fanatics who founded Israel – but the Balfour declaration actually stated that any jewish state was dependent on “… NOTHING being done which may prejudice the civil & religious rights of the existing non-jewish communities.” A condition Israel has completely violated by discriminating against the Palestineans and others.

    (Source : page 11, Wasserstein, Bernard, ‘Israel & Palestine’, Profile Books, 2003.)

    Israel was wrongly created against the wishes of the majority of people in the region. So much for democracy or respecting the will of the people. The Israelis then used “ethnic cleansing” type genocide (look up Deir Yassin for just one of all too many examples) to make their colonial outpost more Jewish and having been promised an already excessive 55% of the then Mandate of Palestine went on to occupy the 100 % of the entire Mandate by brute force – plus much of neighbouring lands Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan & Syria.

    These countries – quite understandably sought to protect themselves and their neighbours and to restore the land unjustifiably seized by an invading and occupying group of imperialists and ideological & religious extremists. They were & still are quite within their rights to do so just as the French resistance were quite within their rights to resist the Nazi occupation of their land.

    As for Iraq’s nuclear reactor – yet again we see odious and racist double standards. Israel has the Bomb – but none of its neighbours are allowed nuclear equality with it? Not even as a potential deterrent against Israel attacking them by nukes. Israel is allowed to threaten its neighbours with annihilation yet they must simply roll over and beg : “Yes massa Israel, don’t kill us poor neighbours massa, let us live, please massa we’ll do as you say!” Come on! This is just incredibly biased, Islamophobic and, yes, racist.

    Either all soverign nations have the right to nukes – or none do. Picking out only your friends and yourself and saying they can have such apocalyptic weapons but not those you dislike is unfair and unjustifiable. Period.

    If Israel cannot live with a nuclear armed Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestine or wherever, if they are incapable of getting on with their neighbours, then maybe its time the Israelis faced that stark reality and spared themselves, the region and the entire planet an apocalyptic calamity by voluntarily evacuating from the SW Asian / Muslim world region where they are not welcome over to the USA or Europe. (Perhaps they could buy up New York & its surrounds or maybe Germany should host this moved “Israeli” state?) Because, sooner or later, Israel’s neighbours will – and should – get the same sort of nuclear and other WMDs that the Israel already has.

    The reality-based community needs to accept this reality and prepare accordingly – not by attacking Iran, Syria or where-ever else but by telling the Jewish lobby to get real – and to either get along with its neighbours peacefully or just get out peacefully while they still can and before they cause yet another disastrous tragedy for everybody, incl. themselves.

    ——————-

    “True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    ‘Since it is impossible to coerce thought, the way to social harmony is to discuss conflict and pursue truth; the more people speak their minds freely, the more they are likely to be loyal citizens.’ – Jewish Dutch 17th C philosopher, B. Spinoza

    Since the creation of Israel in 1948 :

    200,000 Palestinians have been killed.
    5,000,000 refugees have been created.
    21,000 square kilometres of land has been annexed.
    385 towns and villages have been destroyed.
    300 billion military dollars have been spent.
    100 plus WMD’s have been manufactured.
    65 UN resolutions have been ignored.

    Source : ‘The Age’ newspaper, 4-5-2004.

  62. Space Stations for Peace

    Hmm .. Just think – if Iran gets its space program going well enough we can even get them sucked into giving us a hand with the International Space Station along with the Russians, Japanese, Europeans and others! ;-)

    BTW. Isn’t it time the ISS got itself a proper name? I’d suggest O’Neil-1, Babylon-1 or Goddard-Tsiolkovsky but I’d even take the original ‘Freedom’ above that dull acronymn. ;-)

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »