Iran's Space Venture a Threat to U.S.?

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Now that Iran says it can put a satellite in space, the implications can be felt far beyond the Middle East.

Last week, Iran's President Mahmoud Admadinejad celebrated what he claims was Iran's launching of its first missile into space. It's one more sign of Iran's ambitious missile program.

"I'd characterize it as the most energetic, the most energetic, the richest missile program in the world today, not just in the region. I'm talking in the world," Israeli missile expert Uzi Rubin said.

Rubin says this should be a global concern because if Iran can put a satellite into orbit it should have no problem getting a bomb to the other side of the world.

He compares it to Russia's launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957.

"Why did Sputnik make such an impression on the U.S.? It wasn't this piece of metal that was in orbit making 'beep beep.' It was the rocket behind it that frightened U.S. public - and rightly so - because it showed that if they can put this 15 pounds in orbit, they can put something on Washington," Rubin said.

Now Iran could be closing in on that technological threshold. Combined with its nuclear program it raises a serious question.

"The question is whether they can make a nuclear device small enough to be dumped on America," Rubin said. 

Now Rubin believes that just as Russia's space program once did, Iran's space venture poses a direct threat to the U.S.

He said, "They will threaten the U.S. implicitly, not explicitly, by having the capability and probably by flying satellites, and every time an Iranian satellite will fly above America, because it will fly above America, it'll make its beep beep. Remember the Sputnik. It implies capability."

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