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Iran puzzled at Trump’s reaction to satellite launch explosion, but dismisses rumors of US sabotage

Iran puzzled at Trump’s reaction to satellite launch explosion, but dismisses rumors of US sabotage
The Iranian government has confirmed for the first time on record that a satellite launch at the Imam Khomeini Space Center ended in failure when a rocket exploded, though the launch was merely a test without the sat installed.

In comments broadcast by Iranian state media on Monday, government spokesman Ali Rabiei clarified what caused last Thursday’s explosion, the aftermath of which was depicted in satellite photos.

“The explosion happened at the launchpad and no satellite had yet been transferred to the launchpad,” Rabiei said, adding “It happened at a test site, not at the launch site.”

US President Donald Trump followed up the failed test with a tweet distancing Washington from the incident, stating “The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident,” amid speculation that the explosion may have been a result of American sabotage.

Rabiei flatly denied the suggestion of US tampering, however, arguing “this has been a technical matter and a technical error,” and “Our experts unanimously say so.”

Also on rt.com ‘Good luck determining what happened’: Trump says US not involved in Iranian satellite ‘incident’

The spokesman also slammed President Trump’s tweet – in which he also wished Iran “luck” in figuring out what went wrong with the test – suggesting that Washington is running out of complaints concerning Iran.

“We don’t understand why the U.S president tweets and posts satellite pictures with excitement. This is not understandable,” he said. “Maybe this is because lack of Iran-related subjects that they raise such issues.”

Also on rt.com ‘Good morning, Donald Trump’: Iran shows off satellite ‘undamaged’ in launch pad explosion

Washington has repeatedly slammed Tehran for previous satellite launches, arguing they violate a UN Security Council resolution calling on the Islamic Republic to cease all work related to ballistic missiles, however Iran insists the satellite work has no military dimension. Two prior Iranian satellite launches earlier this year also resulted in failure.

Tensions have soared between the two countries since last year, when Trump abrogated Washington’s end of a nuclear accord signed by Iran and world powers. The Trump administration has since introduced a series of crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, vowing to reduce the country’s oil exports to zero, while the two sides exchanged drone shoot downs over the Persian Gulf earlier this summer.

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