Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 26
By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:
The reaction of official Tehran to remarks of the French president Emanuel Macron during his visit to the Persian Gulf region that “Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and should clarify the strategy around its ballistic missile program” was not surprising, as Iran doesn’t leave any criticism of its actions without a harsh response.
Tensions between the two states escalated in November, when president Macron displayed his support for the US president Donald Trump over Iran’s non-nuclear issues.
And this is despite the fact that, as Iranian lawmaker Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said, France has special place in Iran's international interactions, particularly their post-nuclear deal agreements on energy and automotive industries.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said last week that Paris and Washington are determined to "vigorously" raise pressure on Iran over its ballistic missile program, including, possibly through sanctions.
The really surprising thing is why was it just France raising voice against Iran’s non-nuclear activities, compared to Great Britain, Germany and other powerful states which remain deafeningly silent?
The French criticism is mainly revolving round Iranian missile program development.
Since the end of WW2 the world's first long-range ballistic missile V-2 designed by German engineer Wernher von Braun became the basis for the creation of the Soviet and American ballistic missiles, which, in turn, became parents of multistage space launch vehicles. This was a major breakthrough in the development of outer space industry.
Another example of close link between military ballistic technologies and commercial space industry is the North Korean Paektusan 1 – a three-stage space launch vehicle for propulsion satellites into orbit that was designed on the basis of intermediate-range military Taepodong ballistic missile .
Iran has plans to enter top ten spacefaring nations. Iran Aerospace Industries Organization (IAIO) head Reza Taghizadeh said in 2008 that Iran intends to launch a manned mission into space within a decade. The goal was described as the country's top priority for the next 10 years, in order to make Iran the leading space power of the region by 2021.
What does all this have to do with France? Maybe the guess is quite wrong and unreal but curious enough to be voiced once.
Arianespace is a famous French company known as the world's leading satellite launch provider. In 2004, Arianespace held more than 50% of the world market for boosting satellites to geostationary transfer orbit.
Tony Thoma, the former Arianespace Sales Director, said in his time that the Middle East market’s importance is very high for the company.
“The greater Middle East area remains a strategic market for our company. Today, we have orbited 19 telecommunications satellites for the region, which represents a 70 percent market share. In addition to the telecom satellite sector, the future also will be paced by the launches of Earth observation platforms. Middle East nations are showing a particular interest in such capabilities, and when one country acquires such a satellite-based observation system, it could trigger a drive by others to do the same,” he said.
France doesn’t need another rival in aerospace industry having its own spaceport and capability to provide satellite launching services to regional countries.
Seeing how Iran manages to develop various fields of knowledge such as nuclear technologies, stem sells researches, nanotechnologies etc., it seems real that the Islamic Republic might, if allowed, after some time, succeed in transferring its ballistic missiles experience to the commercial ground, launching satellites and people into orbit too.