Published: Mon, September 02, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump defends sharing failed Iran rocket launch photo

Trump defends sharing failed Iran rocket launch photo

An image of a failed Iranian launch tweeted by the US President set experts and netizens on their toes, as the high resolution of the photo can not be achieved with known satellite technology.

He also tweeted a high-resolution picture of the location, with annotations pointing to damaged vehicles and the launch gantry.

The United States has criticized Iran's space program as a cover for ballistic missile development.

President Trump told reporters: "I just wish Iran well, they had a big problem and we had a photo".

In a taunting jab, he added: "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened" at the site. The satellite was Iran's first with foldable solar panels and was created to fly around the world in low orbit for some two-and-a-half months.

Furthermore, he reiterated that as far as his ministry was concerned, Nahid 1 satellite was undamaged, and nothing had happened during the test for launching it.

A satellite photo produced by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies shows a black plume of smoke rising from the launch site before Thursday's scheduled launch. In previous days, satellite images had shown officials there repainted the launch pad blue. Azari Jahromi tweeted on Saturday morning.

The photo released on Friday by Mr Trump appeared to be a previously-classified surveillance photo from American intelligence agencies.

On Friday, Trump tweeted an image from a confidential report on the incident, claiming that the United States was not involved in the explosion.

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This satellite image from Planet Labs Inc., that has been annotated by experts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, shows a fire at a rocket launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province on August 29, 2019. "Not sure what the political objective of dissemination was", she said.

"We have reliable information that the tanker is underway and headed to Tartus, Syria", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday on Twitter.

This is the third failed launch attempt for Iran this year, with earlier ones taking place in January and February.

The U.S. alleges such satellite launches defy a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

It was released earlier this month, despite a warrant from the U.S. Department of Justice seeking its detention.

Nevertheless, Azari Jahromi preferred not to comment on the alleged incident at Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan. "Trump's sanctions will hurt the U.S. first".

Tehran still conducts missile tests but has long maintained that the missiles it is developing are conventional and are not designed for nuclear warheads.

President Donald Trump has defended his "absolute right" to share the photo.

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