In a tweet, US President Donald Trump revealed the damage to an Iranian missile launch pad that might have been taken from an aircraft or a drone, confirming that United States is violating Iran’s airspace in order to spy on its missile program.
Image experts who examined the angle and the quality of the high resolution image said: “It looks like it was taken from an airborne platform, not a satellite.”
The tweet was no surprise to Iran that the United States is gathering images of missile sites and other facilities. But it only makes Iran’s claims stronger of US violations.
In June, Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz that it said had flown into its airspace. The United States said the plane was in international airspace. The shootdown prompted Trump to order a military strike on Iran, which he called off at nearly the last minute.
The image Trump tweeted Friday is almost certainly highly classified according to experts. The markings were probably made by intelligence analysts who noted the damage to the facility and vehicles near it, as well as “scorching and damage” on one side of the launch pad.
Adding to what the US President shared on Twitter showed a camera flash and a person’s shadow, leading to speculation that Trump or one of his aides may have snapped a picture of the image using a cellphone.
Meanwhile, the White House declined comment on the tweet and the image. But later, while addressing reporters, Trump said, “we had a photo and I released it, which I had the absolute right to do and we’ll see what happens.”
In 2015 the United States led successful negotiations for a nuclear deal intended to dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities, and when Iran complied in 2016, sanctions on Iran were lifted.
The nuclear deal talked about restrictions on mining of nuclear fuel in Iran, nuclear fuel stockpile and the enrichment quality.
The recent tensions between the two nations began after the Trump administration re-imposed sanctions against Iran in 2018 after withdrawing from the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Mr. Trump had denounced the JCPOA as “the worst deal ever negotiated” and a disaster that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.
After the US imposed sanctions in November 2018, the United States stopped forced most of the nations around the world to stop purchasing Iranian oil, leading to an sharp downturn in Iran’s economy, triggering protests, spike in inflation and pushing the value of its currency to record lows.
Just as Iran were to breach the nuclear stockpile, the U.S started deploying more military assets into the Persian Gulf region against threat to it’s troops in Iraq.
Over the past couple of weeks oil tankers were burnt, drones were shot down, cyber attacks intensified.