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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Israel puts new spy satellite in orbit in taunt to Mideast countries

Iran Press TV

Monday, 06 July 2020 10:01 AM

Israel has launched a new spy satellite, with reports linking the launch to the Israeli regime's hostility towards Iran and its peaceful nuclear activities.

The satellite, dubbed Ofek 16, was fired into space from a launchpad in central Israel early Monday morning using the locally-developed Shavit rocket.

"We will continue to strengthen and maintain Israel's capabilities on every front, in every place," said Israel's minister of military affairs Benny Gantz.

His ministry called Ofek 16 "an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities."

The occupying regime, which has no formal diplomatic ties with any country in the region except Jordan and Egypt, is a military entity in its entirety. It is the recipient of the largest cumulative US military aid.

The American military aid to Israel has skyrocketed over the past several years, during which Tel Aviv has escalated its settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The United States and Israel signed an agreement in September 2016 to give Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, the largest such aid package in US history.

The US and Israel have tried to gloss over the funds under the mask of Iranian security threats.

The Times of Israel reported on Monday that "the main function of the new spy satellite will likely be monitoring Iran and developments in its nuclear and missile programs".

Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi said on Sunday that the regime considers Iran's nuclear abilities as an "existential threat" to itself, noting that Tel Aviv is taking any action to stop what he called "Iranian nuclear threat."

He made the remarks a few days after a shed at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility was damaged in an incident, the cause of which Iranian officials say has been determined, but that it will be announced at a more convenient time due to security considerations.

On Thursday morning, one of the sheds under construction in the open area of the site suffered damage following an incident, which caused no casualties and did not affect the activities at the complex, according to the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) at the time.

Nour News, a website close to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said in a Saturday article that media reports crediting Israel for an alleged cyber attack targeting Iran's Natanz nuclear facility mean that the regime itself would be exposed to similar threats.

"The sensitivity and significance of this issue becomes obvious when one considers the nuclear nature of the Zionist regime and the proven vulnerability of Israel in facing counter actions," read a part of the article.

Natanz is a uranium enrichment center located near a city of the same name in central Isfahan Province, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of the capital, Tehran.

The center is among the sites now being monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under a 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Tehran and major powers.

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