A tweet by Donald Trump that the United States is “not involved” in the apparent explosion of a rocket in Iran accompanied by an extremely accurate snapshot taken by the US intelligence drew the attention of experts.
A communication that raises many questions. The United States is “not involved” in the apparent explosion of a rocket in Iran, assured Donald Trump August 30 on Twitter, accompanying his message of a cliché taken by the US intelligence services. But the high resolution of the image has attracted the attention of security experts. And if it was a classified secret-defense?
The head of the White House mentions the exact location of the Iranian site, explaining in great detail that this “catastrophic accident” occurred during the “final preparations” before the launch of the “Safir satellite launcher at the launch site No. 1 Semnan “.
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
The image represents Semnan’s launch base, located 200 kilometers from Tehran in northern Iran, confirms LCI. It was from this site that Iran put into orbit in 2009 its first satellite called Omid, which means hope in Persian. A successful launch thanks to its Safir rocket, of 100% Iranian design, which worried the international community about the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic Republic.
The black and white image accompanying Donald Trump’s message is taken at low altitude, showing the firing point and its immediate surroundings after the alleged explosion. Annotations describe the damage caused by the incident. The origin of the cliché is hidden by a black banner.
The spread of this image, which could be classified as a defense secret, provoked turmoil in the intelligence community. Several intelligence experts have estimated that it could be an image obtained by a US spy satellite. The tenant of the White House could indeed have revealed a level of resolution still unknown of the American spy satellites or that the secret services have taken since the airs.
- We had a picture and I broadcast it, as I have quite right
On the official communication side, a US Department of Defense official told CNBC that the snapshot, which was taken with a mobile phone, was presented at a meeting of the intelligence services. “We had a picture and I broadcast it, as I absolutely have the right,” Donald Trump later told reporters leaving the White House.
“If the president simply tweets an image of a classified document that requires our most advanced intelligence-gathering capabilities, it’s definitely a welcome newcomer to our opponents,” he said on social media. Patrick Eddington, a former CIA analyst specializing in satellite imagery.
The broadcast of this shot “seems out of step with the US policy on the publication of such data,” said Allison Puccioni, a former military and satellite imaging specialist, affiliated with Stanford University, on his Twitter account.
Trump's tweeted image was not from any sensor we in the #OSINT community can access. The dissemination of this image seems out-of-step with the U.S. policy regarding its publication of such data. Not sure what the political objective of dissemination was.
— Allison Puccioni (@puccioni1) August 30, 2019
“The diffusion of this image seems to contradict the American policy on the publication of such data,” she wrote before concluding: “I do not know what was the political purpose of the broadcast.”
Benevolence or irony?
“I send my best thoughts to Iran and wish him good luck in finding out what happened,” the US president wrote in the same tweet, using a tone as ironic as it looks benevolent towards the Islamic Republic, which he usually considers to be his pet peeve.
The Iranian authorities have however denied any incident on their launch site, by the voice of the Minister of Telecommunications, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, without comment on the launcher.
“Apparently, there was information about the failure of the third attempt to put the satellite into orbit. In fact, Nahid 1 is fine, he is currently in the laboratory, “he said, inviting reporters to visit this lab and ending his message with the hashtag” transparency “.
The previous two attempts to launch in January and February had already failed. Relations between Iran and the United States have come under heavy pressure since Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 of the three-year-old international nuclear deal.
Tehran, which ensures that its rocket program is destined for peaceful use in space, has launched since 2009 several satellites of national manufacture, attracting each time the condemnation of Westerners. In January, France had “strongly condemned” the failed missile of Safir, pointing out that this technology is close to that used for the carrying of nuclear weapons on long-range ballistic missiles.