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Trump Says US 'Not Involved' in Apparent Iranian Rocket Launch Failure

This photo, released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry, July 27, 2017, claims to show the launching of Simorgh satellite-carrying rocket in an undisclosed location in Iran.

President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States had nothing to do with the apparent failure of an Iranian space rocket launch.

"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," Trump said in a tweet.

Trump was asked Friday if he had released classified information by posting a photo of the apparent explosion with his tweet. He said, according to the Associated Press, ``We had a photo and I released it, which I have the absolute right to do.''

Asked where he got the photo, he told reporters, ``You'll have to figure that one out yourself,'' AP said.

Iran says its rocket program is for civilian use in space. However, because the rockets use similar technology to long-range ballistic missiles, Washington eyes the country's activities skeptically.

Washington and Tehran have been locked in a bitter standoff since last year when Trump unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran says its atomic program is to develop nuclear power capabilities, but the United States, its ally Israel and Iran's other rivals in the region insist that this is a cover for a weapons push.

Tensions have risen dramatically in the Persian Gulf, where Iran has seized tankers and the United States is expanding its military presence.