September 23, 2019
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Iran denies burning of its satellite Nahid-1

Tehran, Aug 31 (efe-epa).- Iran has denied the failure of the launch of a communication satellite on Saturday as alleged by the United States.

Iran's Information and Communication Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted a photo for him beside the satellite Nahid-1 with a comment saying: “Me & Nahid I right now, Good Morning Donald Trump!”

He also published footage of the satellite at the Iranian Space Research Center, saying that it has not been launched yet.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday: “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,” he continued, attaching what is believed to be a satellite image of the Iranian launching site.

Jahromi responded that he had no idea about Washington’s claims and that they were not related to Nahid-1.

When asked about the alleged explosion that was pointed at by the US as a result of a failed launching, Jahromi said that the matter is for the Defense Ministry to report on.

He added that Nahid-1 is a communication satellite intended 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.

Although the satellite has a surveillance camera that is capable of capturing and transmitting images, Iran’s ICT minister reiterated that this is not its main function.

He also added that Nahid-1 has passed all its assessments and is ready to be launched once the Defense Ministry authorizes it.

Jahromi said that for the satellite to be put into orbit, it has to be delivered to the Defense Ministry three weeks ahead of the launch, meaning that the US information did not relate to Nahid-1.

According to images from Planet Labs, a US private Earth-imaging company, the Iranian satellite exploded while on its launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport, part of the Semnan Space Center in the northern province of Semnan.

The US has stated that these space attempts are part of Iranian projects to develop its long-range ballistic missiles with the ability to carry nuclear warheads, capable of hitting countries in Europe and the Middle East.

Iran has responded that its activities are civil objectives and not military, denying the allegations of the US administration.

It was not the first space attempt by Iran, it successfully launched its first Omid in 2009, while the launch of the carrier rocket Simorgh (also called Safir-2) in 2017 failed.

In mid-January, Iranian authorities announced the failure of the launch of a Payam satellite into orbit as it could not reach the necessary speed in the third stage, despite successfully passing the first two phases.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since May 2018, when Trump withdrew the US from a nuclear pact with Iran and returned to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic, including those affecting the oil sector. EFE-EPA


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