Iraq can greatly benefit from accurate satellite imagery provided by Iran, especially in dealing with the challenges posed by dust storms. In the future, Iraq may have access to Iran’s space facilities if it chooses to collaborate on the development of communication and reconnaissance satellites.
Over the past decade, Iraq has been making efforts to enter the space industry. The country aims to launch communication, reconnaissance, information, and security satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with the help of European partners and its own capabilities.
However, Iraq has only successfully launched one satellite into orbit so far. The country has yet to venture into other satellite-related areas such as space stations, satellite building, satellite launches, space biology, and space observation. The conflicts that Iraq has faced in recent decades have hindered its potential in space exploration.
The Ministry of Communications oversees Iraq’s space activities. In 2014, Iraq collaborated with Italy to launch its first satellite, Dijlah. The jointly built satellite was successfully deployed by Russian rockets and provided valuable data on dust storms to ground stations in Baghdad and Rome. Impressively, it remained operational until 2019.
In 2020, Iraq’s Minister of Communications announced plans to establish a space agency in partnership with France. The objective was to develop and launch information and security satellites with a wide range of applications, including security, economic development, agriculture, environmental monitoring, and military purposes. Iraq has also had collaborations in space with Egypt, but the results of these partnerships remain unknown.
Although Iraq claimed to have launched a satellite in 1989 during Saddam Hussein’s regime, evidence suggests that the launch failed. Iraq currently relies heavily on foreign assistance in the field of space exploration. It is common for countries in the early stages of space development to seek guidance from more experienced nations. Iran, with its successful satellite development and launch capabilities, including advanced facilities, can provide valuable support to Iraq.
This partnership holds significant implications for Iraq, especially in areas like monitoring shared water resources with neighboring countries and tracking dust storms. Access to Iran’s up-to-date and precise satellite images would greatly aid Iraq in addressing these fundamental challenges. In the future, if Iraq decides to build its own reconnaissance and communication satellites, it can rely on Iran’s space facilities for cost-effective space launches.