Published: Tue, September 03, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Iran gets back at Trump's taunt of failed Iranian satellite launch

Iran gets back at Trump's taunt of failed Iranian satellite launch

The tweet comes after satellite photos showed a rocket on a launch pad at Iran's Imam Khomenei Space Center had exploded Thursday.

An Iranian official published an image Saturday of a satellite after an apparent rocket explosion at the space centre meant to launch it, tweeting at President Donald Trump after the American leader shared online what appeared to be a surveillance photo of the aftermath.

"Fortunately, our knowledge in this field is increasing by the day", he said referring to Iran's space programme.

Tehran denies the US accusation that such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development.

Trump's tweet, which mentions the Safir SLV, suggests it was a Safir rocket being prepared for launch during the August 29 incident.

"Me & Nahid I right now, Good Morning Donald Trump!" he wrote. The Nahid-1 is believed to be the satellite Iran was prepping to launch at the space center, which is some 240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Iran's capital, Tehran. Commercial satellite imagery published by global media also indicated an explosion, showing a thick plume of black smoke rising from the launch site.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said "Iran's oil should be bought and its money should be accessible to return to Iran".

The New York Times reported this week that the U.S. staged a secret cyberattack in June against a database used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to plot attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, the latest in an ongoing cyberconflict between the United States and Iran.

Iran denies ever having sought a nuclear weapon.

Iran conceded there was an accident after photos taken by commercial satellites showed smoke rising from the space center in northern Iran, per NPR.

In previous days, satellite images had shown officials there repainting the launch pad blue. Analysts said the black rectangle in the photo's upper-left-hand corner likely covered up the photo's classification. President John F. Kennedy declassified photographs of Soviet missile sites during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and President George W. Bush also declassified pictures of Iraq in 2003 to support Washington's case against Saddam Hussain. The WorldView-2 satellite, produced by Maxar, can only provide a 46-centimeter resolution, a National Public Radio report says.

Nahid in Farsi means "Venus".

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi will also depart Tehran for Paris later on Monday to hold talks with French officials regarding the issue.

When asked about the alleged explosion that was pointed at by the United States as a result of a failed launching, Jahromi said that the matter is for the Defence Ministry to report on.

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

Iran has successfully sent several satellites into orbit in recent years.

The US has criticised the initiative as a way for Teheran to advance its ballistic missiles - warning Iran against rocket launches, fearful the technology used to put satellites into orbit could enable Teheran to develop the ballistic missile capability needed to launch nuclear warheads.

"The explosion happened at the launchpad and no satellite had yet been transferred to the launchpad", Rabiei said.

The U.N. agency also said Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 4.5%, above the 3.67% allowed.

While attention remains focused on Trump's handling of the alleged Iranian rocket explosion, it remains to be seen whether Jahromi will finally get a response from the president.

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