DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Satellite images appear to show the smoldering remains of a rocket at an Iranian space center that was to conduct a U.S.-criticized satellite launch.

The satellite pictures were taken Thursday morning of the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province.

The photos show black smoke and part of a painted launch pad apparently scorched away.

David Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told The Associated Press: "Whatever happened there, it blew up and you're looking at the smoldering remains of what used to be there."

NPR first reported on the satellite images.

Iran was to launch the Nahid-1 satellite in the coming days. There had been activity at the space center in recent days.

There was no immediate reaction from Iran.

A failed Iranian rocket launch is seen Aug. 29, 2019, at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran.
A failed Iranian rocket launch at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran
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