Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Iran minister shows undamaged satellite after failed launch

MJ Azari Jahromi  Twitter The Iranian tech minister has a history of trolling Trump online MJ Azari Jahromi Twitter The Iranian tech minister has a history of trolling Trump online
Deanna Wagner | 02 September, 2019, 15:57

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.

The crystal clear photograph included several notations that pointed out a "damaged gantry service tower", two "damaged support vehicles", a "damaged propellant burner trailer", a "damaged Safir mobile-erector-launcher".

The launch attempt was met by concerns that Tehran had been testing technology that could lead to ballistic missile strikes, though authorities deny this.

Trump's tweet suggests the incident occurred during launch preparations and was spotted by USA spy satellites, but it is not clear which satellite may have taken the image or if the photo was part of a classified daily briefing for the president.

"I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One", he continued, attaching what is believed to be a satellite image of the Iranian launching site. Iran recently has begun to break the accord itself while trying to push Europe to help it sell oil overseas.

He added that Nahid-1 is a communication satellite meant to be in an orbit 250 km far from the Earth during September, and which will stay in space for two and a half months.

In previous days, satellite images had shown officials there repainting the launch pad blue.

Mr Jahromi, a rising politician in Iran's Shia theocracy, responded to Mr Trump in his tweet early Saturday.

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

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The images were captured by Maxar's WorldView-2 satellite, showing an aerial view of the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran where the failed launch took place.

This image taken from the Twitter account of US President Donald J. Trump, @realDonaldTrump, shows an undated photo of the aftermath of an explosion at Iran's Imam Khomeini Space Center in the country's Semnan province.

It was Iran's third launch failure this year.

"They had a big problem", he said of Iran's launch. "We had a photo and I released it, which I have the absolute right to do", Trump said.

"I think it is extremely unlikely that the USA had anything to do with the explosion".

The United States has accused Tehran of using the technology to launch satellites into orbit as part of its effort to develop nuclear weapons.

Tensions have been high between the countries since Mr Trump unilaterally withdrew the USA from Iran's nuclear deal over a year ago and imposed sanctions, including on Iran's oil industry.

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