On Thursday, Iran, for the first time, acknowledged that a rocket had exploded at its Imam Khomeini Space Centre due to a malfunction during testing.
In the comments broadcast by Iranian state TV, Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei rebuffed the claims that the explosion had occurred as a result of "manipulations" from outside.
"The explosion happened at the launchpad and no satellite had yet been transferred to the launchpad. It happened at a test site, not at the launch site", he said.
Iran's government spox says technical failure was behind a recent explosion at Semnan rocket launch site. No casualties. Satellite had not been transferred to the launch site, he says.https://t.co/HreimWLxzk— Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) September 2, 2019
Rabiei addressed a now-viral tweet by US President Donald Trump, who shared a satellite image of what appeared to be the burnt rocket launch pad and damaged vehicles at the Imam Khomeini Space Centre in the Iranian province of Semnan on Saturday, saying that "he did it out of not having other issues to take care of".
"We don't understand why the US president tweets and posts satellite pictures with excitement. This is not understandable", Rabiei added.
In the tweet, Trump denied US involvement in the accident and wished Iranian authorities "good luck in detemining what happened" at the 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. I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One. pic.twitter.com/z0iDj2L0Y3— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2019
On Thursday, satellite images emerged ostensibly showing an exploded Iranian rocket on the launch pad, with a number of media outlets claiming that the failure was the third this year.
The United States has repeatedly warned Iran against rocket launches, even though they are not barred under the 2015 nuclear deal, claiming that the Middle Eastern country's space programme is furthering its military-grade missile development. The Islamic Republic, for its part, has consistently argued that its space programme is being developed only for peaceful purposes.