Jerusalem – Varying reports came out of Iran yesterday of its first successful launch of a domestically-made satellite carrier loaded possibly with a communications satellite.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency had initially reported that the country did indeed launch an Iranian-made communications satellite into orbit.

At press time, reports from respected news sources still varied. U.S. and Israeli sources also confirmed Iranian claims.

Other reports however have stated a “dummy” or test satellite was launched, and the BBC has reported that no satellite at all had been launched. The BBC said only an Iranian-made missile capable of putting a communication satellite in orbit was successfully launched.

In any event, it would appear Iran’s aerospace program -including missiles and warplanes – is making progress.

In October 2005, Iran launched a Russian-made Iranian satellite using a Russian rocket.

Yesterday’s launch added to ongoing concerns over Iran’s nuclear aspirations and capabilities.

Iranian officials further boasted that the country has increased the range of its warplanes, allowing them to fly as far as Israel and back without refueling.

Iranian State TV quoted Iranian air force chief Gen. Ahmad Mighani as saying Iranian warplanes can now fly 2,400 miles without refueling. He didn’t specify the aircraft type or explain how the range was extended.

Israel is about 700 miles from Iran.

Such a range could be achieved by using external fuel tanks attached to the wings or fuselage that can be released when empty.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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