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Iran, Azerbaijan cement space cooperation agreement

Iranian and Azerbaijani space officials meet in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 1 August 2016 to sign the space cooperation MoU. Photograph courtesy of Mehrs News Agency.
Iranian and Azerbaijani space officials meet in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 1 August 2016 to sign the space cooperation MoU. Photograph courtesy of Mehrs News Agency.

Iranian and Azerbaijani officials signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for space cooperation between the two countries, days before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, on 8 August 2016.

Iranian Minister for Communication and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi and Azerbaijani Minister Communications and High Technologies Ramin Namigoglu Guluzade led their respective delegations to negotiate and sign the MoU in Baku on 1 August 2016.

The new MoU allows Iran and Azerbaijan to share data and satellite capacity, as well as joint coordination of frequency spectrum across the Iranian-Azerbaijani border, as well as creating the conditions for reducing the cost of cellular telephone use in both countries.

Mahmoud Vaezi also suggested that the MoU might allow the two countries to jointly build satellites in the future, saying that, “the two countries also have the potential for cooperation on manufacturing communications equipment and developing software.”

Vaezi went on to say that one of the priorities for cooperation is in satellite communications, and this matches the principal aims of the Iranian space programme that seeks to build a telecommunications satellite over the next few years. Azercosmos, the state-owned satellite company, is successfully operating the Azerspace-1 telecommunications satellite operating in the C- and Ku-bands that provides coverage of the Caucasus, Middle East, and Africa.

Azercosmos expects to launch Azerpsace-2 in 2017 that will operate in the Ku-band and will provide coverage of much of Europe, West Asia, Middle East, and Africa.

Azercosmos also operates the Azersky high-resolution remote sensing satellite, manufactured by Airbus Defence & Space of France, and launched in 2014.

Since the lifting of most of the sanctions put in place by the international community, Iranian officials have been trying to kick-start the Iranian satellite industry by seeking cooperative deals with Russia, China, Turkey, and now Azerbaijan.

Iranian-Azerbaijani relations have improved significantly since the election of Hassan Rouhani as President of Iran, though relations in the past have been troubled by Iranian support for Armenia in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as repression and persecution of ethnic Azeri’s in northern Iran.

Original published at: http://spacewatchme.com/2016/08/iran-azerbaijan-cement-space-cooperation-agreement/

 

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