US "not involved" in apparent rocket explosion in Iran

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Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump assured on Twitter on Friday that the United States was "not involved" in the apparent explosion of a rocket in Iran, accompanying his message with a snapshot taken by the US intelligence services. .

In a tweet, Trump claimed that this "catastrophic accident" had occurred during the "final preparations" before the "Safir satellite launcher launched at the Semnan launch site N.1", in the north of Iran.

The Iranian authorities have denied any incident on their launch site.

"I send my best thoughts to Iran and wish him good luck in finding out what happened," he wrote.

The message was accompanied by a low-level black-and-white photograph, whose origin is hidden by a black banner, showing the firing point and its immediate surroundings after the explosion with annotations describing the damage caused by the explosion. 'incident.

A Defense Ministry official told CNBC that the president's mobile phone shot was presented at a meeting of the intelligence services. Mr. Trump had just Friday a briefing on his agenda and he tweeted his message from his iPhone.

"We had a picture and I broadcast it, as I absolutely have the right," the president later confirmed to reporters leaving the White House.

The spread of this cliche, which could be classified as a defense secret, however, provoked turmoil in the intelligence community.

The real estate mogul could indeed have revealed a level of resolution still unknown US spy satellites or that the secret services have taken from the air.

– What political objective? –

The broadcast "seems out of step with US policy on publishing such data," commented Allison Puccioni, a former military and satellite imaging specialist, affiliated with Stanford University.

"Not sure of the political objective of this dissemination," she added, as Iran and the United States have been under great stress since Washington's unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 of the Iran nuclear power signed three years earlier.

Iran's Minister of Telecommunications, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, denied Friday any incident on the satellite, without commenting on the launcher.

"Apparently, there was information about the failure of the third attempt to put the satellite into orbit." In fact, Nahid 1 is fine, he is currently in the laboratory, "he said, inviting journalists to visit this lab and ending its message with the hashtag "transparency".

The previous two attempts to launch in January and February had already failed.

On another image obtained by the AFP of the company Maxar Technologies, in color but less precise because taken at higher altitude taken Thursday at 11:12 local, we can see a column of smoke that escapes from the firing point.

Iran, which ensures that its rocket program is intended for civilian use in space, has launched since 2009 several satellites of national manufacture, attracting each time the condemnation of Westerners.

In January, France had "strongly condemned" the failed shooting of Safir, pointing out that this technology is close to that used for the carrying of nuclear weapons on long-range ballistic missiles.

The Obs with AFP



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