With Iran refusing to comply with international demands on its nuclear program, Israel is resorting to aerial espionage. Israeli high tech is helping the Jewish state keep a watchful eye on its arch-enemy to the East.
A new Israeli satellite designed to spy on Iran's nuclear program has sent its first pictures back to earth. The Eros B satellite can capture images on the ground as small as 70 centimeters. Israel launched the satellite last week in response to threats by the Iranian president to wipe the Jewish state off the map.
Shimon Eckhaus heads ImageSat, which operates the sophisticated satellite.
"The satellite is covering every square kilometer worldwide," said Shimon Eckhaus.
Pictures published in Israeli newspapers showed the capabilities of the satellite, including vivid images of a Syrian dam, helicopters in Sudan and a military port in an unidentified country. But the satellite's main purpose is to track Iran's nuclear program, which Israel sees as the greatest strategic threat it is facing today.
Eckhaus says the pictures provide intelligence that gives Israel the strategic edge.
"In order to know what countries or institutions are doing, you are comparing on a daily basis, what are the changes," he said. "And therefore, if there is any progress in any sensitive site, you can easily know about it."
Israel wants the United States and United Nations to take the lead in stopping Iran's nuclear program. But the spy satellite seems to be an indication that if diplomacy fails, Israel is prepared to act on its own.
Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that Israel cannot allow Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb. And a former Israeli army chief said recently that Israel has the military capability to set back Iran's nuclear program for years.