Middle East

Iran says test malfunction caused rocket explosion

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is for the first time acknowledging that a rocket explosion took place at its Imam Khomeini Space Center, with an official saying a technical malfunction caused the blast.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei made the statement on Monday in comments broadcast by Iranian state television.

He said the explosion caused no fatalities and also that officials had found no sign that sabotage was involved in the explosion.

Satellite photos showed a rocket on a launch pad at the space center had exploded Thursday. The space center is located about 240 kilometers, or 150 miles, southeast of the capital, Tehran.

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted a surveillance photo likely taken of the site by an American spy satellite. He wrote that the U.S. had nothing to do with the blast.

Photo: This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows a fire at a rocket launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. Satellite images released Thursday show the smoldering remains of a rocket at a Iran space center that was to conduct a U.S.-criticized satellite launch. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies via AP)

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