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30 Aug, 2019 18:11

‘Good luck determining what happened’: Trump says US not involved in Iranian satellite ‘incident’

‘Good luck determining what happened’: Trump says US not involved in Iranian satellite ‘incident’

US President Donald Trump denied any American involvement after reports of a failed Iranian satellite launch, in which a rocket is said to have exploded on a launch pad. Iran, meanwhile, has not issued any accusations of the sort.

In a tweet on Friday, the president assured Washington had nothing to do with the apparently botched satellite mission, and wished Tehran “good luck” in figuring out what went wrong. He also attached an image of damage done to the launch site.

“The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran,” he tweeted.

I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One.

On condition of anonymity, an Iranian official confirmed that the explosion on Thursday was caused by “technical issues,” but added that “our young scientists are working to fix the problem,” according to Reuters.

Tehran has not officially placed blame on Washington or any other party, making the president’s preemptive declaration of no US involvement all the more curious.

Satellite images captured by Planet Labs Inc., and published by NPR later, also indicated an explosion, depicting a large column of black smoke rising from the launch site.

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On Saturday, Iran’s communications minister showed what he said was a picture of the “undamaged” Nahid 1 satellite, dismissing reports that the satellite was lost in the accident.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated dramatically since last year, when Washington abrogated America’s end of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers. President Trump has reintroduced crippling American sanctions on Iran’s economy, with a stated goal of reducing the country’s oil exports to zero.

Washington has also accused Tehran of attacks on commercial shipping in the region, with Tehran saying the US failed to back up the accusations with facts. Tehran also claimed the US’ increased military presence in the region is proof enough that Iran must stay vigilant.

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