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Eutelsat seeks to provide communications satellite to Iran

Ambassador François Sénémaud, France's ambassador to Iran. Photograph courtesy of Quai d'Orsay.
Ambassador François Sénémaud, France’s ambassador to Iran. Photograph courtesy of the Quai d’Orsay.

The French ambassador to Iran, François Sénémaud, revealed that Paris-based commercial satellite communications company Eutelsat is seeking to provide a communications satellite to Iran.

The ambassador’s remarks were made during a meeting with Iranian minister for Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi in Tehran on Saturday, 22 October 2016.

“The Eutelsat company seeks to cooperate with the Iranian Space Agency and prepares its draft in order to participate in the tender for the construction of a satellite,” said Ambassador Sénémaud at the meeting, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.

The tender referred to by Ambassador Sénémaud is the expected request for information by the Iranian government for its National Communications Satellite. SpaceWatch Middle East has recently reported that Iran has received expressions of interest in its National Communications Satellite programme from companies in China, France, Russia, and South Korea.

“France, Russia, China and South Korea have expressed their interest in participating in the project. We will come to a final decision with one of these four countries and execute the construction of National Communications Satellite Project as one of the objectives of the Sixth Development Plan,” said Mahmoud Vaezi of the expressions of interest in early October 2016.

While Eutelsat’s alleged interest in the National Communications Satellite programme has been revealed by Ambassador Sénémaud, the identity of the other possible companies have not been made known as yet. The possible identities of these companies, however, are not too difficult to speculate on. The Chinese company could well be the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation; the French companies may well be Airbus Defence & Space and Thales Alenia Space, or even a combination of the two, as well as now Eutelsat; the South Korean company is likely to be either Korea Aerospace Industries or the Satrec Initiative. Identifying the Russian company interested in building Iran’s NCS is a little more challenging since there are so many manufacturers, but a leading contender is likely to be JSC Information Satellite Systems – Reshetnev Company based in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

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