In the face of continuing drought conditions in Iran, the government hopes its recently launched Khayyam satellite can help boost productivity and monitor scarce water resources

Iran’s water shortages have concerned regional experts for years. In Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, over 95 per cent of the entire province is affected by drought, according to Mohsen Heydari, director of the state-run Office for Meteorology.

The province has recorded a total of only 4.3mm of rainfall over the past year, which Heydari fears could “deal irreparable blows to the economy, natural resources and agriculture”.

One response from the Iranian government has been to launch Khayyam, a remote sensing satellite, which was sent into orbit last month by a Russian Soyuz rocket out of Kazakhstan, according to Al-Monitor.

Claims in a report by The Washington Post that the satellite will be used to assist Russia’s war effort in Ukraine were dismissed as “untrue” by the Iranian space agency, which stressed that “no third country is able to access the information” sent by the satellite due to its “encrypted algorithm”.

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, the satellite is designed to improve agricultural productivity, monitor water sources and provide natural disaster management, including against worsening dust storms.

According to the Global Center for Adaptation in the Netherlands, the bird’s eye images captured from satellites can offer greater insight into factors like crop performance and fertiliser use than on-the-ground observations.