Ahmadinejad Wants to Be Iran's First Astronaut

Connor Simpson

What monkey? Unfazed by questions about whether his country's space monkey mission was staged, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is pretty gung ho about being his country's first man sent to space. "I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists," Ahmadinejad said on Monday at an exhibition about Iran's space program.

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"Sending living things into space is the result of Iranian efforts and the dedication of thousands of Iranian scientists," Ahmadinejad said Monday. But we still aren't completely sure Iran has sent a living thing to space successfully. Last week, Iran started bragging to anyone and everyone who would listen about how they sent a monkey to space and, unlike a prior attempt, the simian lived to tell the tale. And we listened because monkeys in space are hilarious. (They're almost as great as Muppets in Space, but not quite.) But then we were shocked! to learn that, hmmm, maybe Iran didn't send a monkey to space. Some enterprising experts noticed the before-and-after launch pictures don't look like the same monkey. Judge for yourself. Before-launch space monkey is on the right and after-launch space monkey is on the left: 

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It's not exactly a smoking gun, but those two monkeys don't look very similar. One has a mole, like Cindy Crawford, and the other does not. But a senior Iranian space official insisted to the Associated Press that they did successfully send a monkey to space. "I say this with certainty that the monkey is in good health and the space flight didn't have any physical effect on Pishgam," the official said. "Some of the photos released by one of news agencies were not related to the time of flight. They were archive photos of the monkeys being prepared for the launch."

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Inset image via the Telegraph.