Is there a Need for New Space Law?
November 9, 2008 at 9:19 am
Parviz Tarikhi heads the Microwave Remote Sensing Department at the Mahdasht Satellite Receiving Station. He has been involved with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) since 2000, including as second vice-chair and rapporteur in 2004-06 of the committee bureau. Since 2001 he has co-chaired Action Team number 1 of UNISPACE-III with the mission ‘to develop a comprehensive worldwide environmental monitoring strategy’. From 2004-07 he conducted the Office for Specialized International Co-operation of the Iranian Space Agency. He is also a freelance journalist and technical writer.
Following the approval of the Administrational Supreme Council in August 2007 and in line with the implementation of the IV Development Program of IR Iran a “Supreme Council of Education, Research and Technology” was established by merging the “Council of Sciences, Research and Technology”, “Supreme Council of Information Technology”, “Supreme Council of Communications”, “Supreme Council of Space”, “Supreme Council of Atomic Energy”, “Supreme Council of Communication Media Security”, “Supreme Council of Education and Training”, “Supreme Council of Educational Revolution Logistics”, “Supreme Council of Informatics”, “Supreme Council of Science Applications”, “Supreme Council of Biotechnology” and “Supreme Council of Standards”. However, the newly established Supreme Council were dissolved soon after in February 2008, which followed by the dissolution of the 12 merged councils. The functions of the Supreme Council of Education, Research and Technology were put on the newly set-up called “Science, Research and Technology Commission” under the Cabinet of IR Iran.
Decisions made by the councils which members were usually the members of Cabinet, Parliament and non-governmental organizations as well as the relevant experts, was effectual by the approval of the President of IR Iran however, the State believed that the councils were coining the regulations disregarding the role of the State, while it should be responsible for the approvals of those councils.
Dissolution of the Supreme Council of Space specifically urged the revision in the statute of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) to allow it for functioning according to the legislations and approved laws and regulations. As a result the Council of Ministers of IR Iran on June 15, 2008 passed the amendments to the statute of ISA approved in June 2005 which following the investigations of the Guardian Council of the Constitution of IR Iran led to final approval on July 2, 2008. In the new statute the supervision of the Supreme Council of Space on the activities and functions of ISA was cancelled. ISA consequently became an administration under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to report to the related Minister.
The Parliament of IR Iran considered the dissolution of the councils as illegal in continuation and decided to revive the dissolved councils however, the Guardian Council of the Constitution of IR Iran returned the approval of the Parliament for revision and amendments. According to the Constitution of IR Iran, if the Guardian Council of the Constitution of IR Iran object an approval of the Parliament and return it for revision, the Parliament will check it again. In case of dissatisfaction of the Guardian Council, the approval will be offered to the “Assembly for Distinguishing the Prudence of the Regime” for final decision. By the approval of the “Assembly for Distinguishing the Prudence of the Regime” on 27 September 2008 the State is mandated to revive the dissolved councils after 8 months since their dissolution.
Based on the earlier approvals ISA was mandated to covers and support all the activities in IR Iran concerning the peaceful applications of space science and technology under leadership of a Supreme Council chaired by the President of IR Iran. The Council’s main goals included, policy making for the application of space technologies aiming peaceful uses of outer space, manufacturing, launching and use of the national research satellites, approving the space related programs of state and private institutions and organizations, promoting the partnership of the private and cooperative sectors in efficient uses of space, and identifying guidelines concerning the regional and international cooperation in space issues. To follow and implement the strategies set by the Supreme Council of Space, ISA affiliated with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was organized.
By reviving of the Supreme Council of Space the need for changing the statute of ISA seems to be mandatory. The statute should ratify the relation of the revived Supreme Council of Space with ISA and redefine the functions and duties of the Agency in the new configuration based on the aims and mandates of the Supreme Council of Space.
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