Can Private Companies Like Orbex Provide Rogue States with Nuclear Technology They Seek?
Are space ventures like Orbex the ideal bridge to pass nuclear secrets along? We look at the current situation in Iran, the role private companies like Orbex could play, and what to expect in the future.
Are Private Enterprises Making it Easier for Iran to Obtain Nukes?
Anyone following the news is aware that relations between the USA and Iran are at a low ebb. Many observers around the world felt that the deal brokered during Obama’s administration was a real breakthrough. Sanctions were dropped and Iran was permitted to develop uranium enrichment processes for civilian purposes. Unfortunately, Donald Trump tore up the agreement. While European countries still support the agreement, the loss of the USA was a great blow for it. Sanctions continue to devastate the economy. And actions like the execution of General Suleimani earlier this year have made things even worse. So where do Iran’s nuclear ambitions currently stand?
Space Tech Needed for Nuclear Delivery
Iran does not have the means to create a nuclear warhead. Even if they did, they would find themselves in a similar position to North Korea, with limited technology needed to actually launch it. Their progress depends on investment in the same kinds of technology that space outfits such as Orbex use in their satellite launches. Going one step further, Iran has always depended on espionage to access nuclear secrets. While working on the Sutherland spaceport, Orbex will have direct access to some of the UK’s most valuable technical secrets. If they were to decide that, as a Danish company, they could profit from selling information to Iran, could we do anything to stop them?
The Role of Private Companies
The other major issue about companies like Orbex is the fact that they do not face the same restrictions as government agencies. Sanctions restrict the amount of trade that can be done with Iran. But while a private company would find it far easier if they wanted to leak crucial information. The progress and investment made possible in the space industry by private companies are impressive. However, we must wonder how safe it is when government space secrets are accessible to private individuals.
Now that Trump is on the way out, it seems likely that we’ll see a resurrection of the Iran deal. Hopefully, the removal of sanctions will encourage Iranian leadership to take a more diplomatic approach towards the West. However, they don’t seem to be in a rush to shelf their nuclear missile program. It remains to be seen whether or not private companies like Orbex could play a serious role in providing Iran with nuclear know-how. But the value of their technology to deliver systems is a matter of established fact.