Satellite images obtained by the Associated Press allegedly show that Iran is gearing up for a space launch amid continued Vienna talks.
The satellite images of Imam Khomeini Spaceport taken by Planet Labs Inc. on Saturday give off the suggestion of activity at the center, according to the Associated Press. News of Iran's alleged activity comes as Vienna talks continued, providing Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi with a "last chance" to sign on to the 2015 nuclear deal.
"They're not walking on eggshells," said Jeffrey Lewis, an expert from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. "I think Raisi's people have a new balance in mind," he added.
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The images depict a vehicle stationed on a bridge-like structure, which has appeared in other images prior to the start of a launch, according to the AP.
"This is fairly traditional pre-launch activity," Lewis said.
Other giveaways that suggest Iran is focusing on an outer space launch include a hydraulic crane, which is allegedly taken out prior to a launch and used to service the rocket, and increased activity at the space center.
Iranian and U.S. officials gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the seventh round of talks, mediated by countries such as China and Russia. During this meeting, Iranian officials slammed previously made compromises, stating that the United States shouldn't go back to following the nuclear deal and should also remove sanctions imposed in the last several years.
Satellite images obtained by AP show Iran appears to be preparing for a space launch as negotiations continue over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers. https://t.co/Yrtz7vBI7n— The Associated Press (@AP) December 12, 2021
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In June, it was revealed that the U.S. had been monitoring another attempt by the Iranians at launching a satellite into orbit, according to CNN.
"U.S. Space Command is aware of the Iranian rocket launch failure which occurred early June 12th," Uriah Orland, a spokesman for the Pentagon, told the outlet.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the U.S. military and to Iran's mission to the United Nations for a statement but did not receive a response.