Trump disavows US involvement in failed Iran rocket launch

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE on Friday denied that the U.S. played any role in Iran’s failed attempt to launch a satellite into space, while appearing to sarcastically wish Tehran “good luck” in determining the cause.

“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 tweeted, referring to Iran’s Safir space launch vehicle. “I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One.”

The tweet came a day after NPR reported that satellite images showed an Iranian rocket had exploded on a launch pad. The incident marked Iran's third failed attempt this year to launch a rocket.

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An Iranian official told Reuters the launch failed due to “technical issues.”

The incident came the same week that The New York Times reported a cyberattack carried out by U.S. Cyber Command in June severely limited Iran’s ability to target oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

While Iran denied in June that the cyberattack had been successful, the country is still working to get all its servers back online and recover data that was lost, the Times reported.

The cyberattack took place the same day Trump called off a military attack on Iran amid tensions between the two nations after Tehran shot down an American surveillance drone.

The United States also reportedly carried out a cyberattack in June disabling Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers.

Iran’s defense ministry announced at the beginning of the year that it planned to conduct three space launches this year.

Because the rockets incorporate the same technology used for missiles, the United States argues the launches violate a United Nations Security Council resolution in which Iran “is called upon” not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.

Iran denies that its space program is a cover for weapons development, holding that the program is peaceful.

Trump's denial also comes after he attended the Group of Seven summit in France earlier this week, where world leaders gathered to discuss pressing international matters. There, French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrance's Macron exposes profound shifts in global strategic priorities World leaders to gather in Israel for fight against anti-Semitism forum Putin is making a move while America is distracted MORE proposed setting up a meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in an effort to ease tensions. 

The potential for a breakthrough initially appeared possible with Trump stating that he would do so if the Iranians were “good players.” But Rouhani later publicly said he would not agree to such a meeting unless Trump “abandons the sanctions and corrects the wrong path it has chosen.”

The relationship between Washington and Tehran has deteriorated in recent years, following Trump’s decision last year to pull out of the Obama-era 2015 Iran nuclear agreement that eased sanctions in exchange for measures that aimed to prevent Iran from getting materials to produce nuclear weapons. The Trump administration has since carried out a maximum pressure campaign against Iran, including slapping on a new wave of sanctions that have further crippled the country's economy.

The financial hit, however, may be forcing Iran's hand to start negotiating with Trump.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Iran’s leadership feels it will eventually have to meet with Trump amid the possibility he may be reelected next year and as the country continues to suffer from the sanctions. 

The country has faced massive inflation and seen food and medicine prices skyrocket. Other reports say conditions have become so dire, some middle-class Iranians are resorting to buying rotting food.

Updated at 2:55 p.m.