The US president posted the high-resolution aerial image of a smouldering launch pad surrounded by a plume of black smoke - complete with annotations - late on Friday, apparently the result of a failed rocket catching fire at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province.
“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,” he wrote.
The image is thought to have been given to him as part of a morning intelligence briefing, prompting nuclear proliferation expert Joshua Pollack to tell CNBC: “This will have global repercussions”.
Mr Pollack marvelled at the president’s actions: “The utter carelessness of it all... So reckless.”
“I think it is extremely unlikely that the US had anything to do with the explosion. And it’s a monumentally bad idea to hint that we might have,” added Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.
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
But perhaps the most damning response came from Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s information and communications technology minister, who posted a selfie standing in front of the Nahid-1 satellite, speculated to have been the cause of the blast among analysts, who also feared the testing could be a cover for the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
His post appeared to indicate the device was still intact and the rumours entirely unfounded.
Me & Nahid I right now, Good Morning Donald Trump! pic.twitter.com/0tQnCP7cQa— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi)August 31, 2019
Mr Jahromi has a track record of deriding President Trump - who remains at odds with Tehran after backing out of a key nuclear accord last year - previously mocking his poorly attended inauguration ceremony of January 2017 by comparing crowd sizes unfavourably to a gathering honouring the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.
President Trump recently expressed optimism at the G7 summit in Biarritz about his chances of sitting down with Hassan Rouhani to resolve outstanding tensions, only for his Iranian counterpart to say any such meeting would amount to little more than an empty photo opportunity if the US did not first lift its damaging sanctions against the regime.