State Department concerned by reports that Iran sent a monkey into space


Associated Press

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 28 at 10:34 PM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — One expert says Iran's latest rocket achievement is "nothing to get too excited about."

Iranian officials say they sent a monkey into space on an Iranian rocket today, and then returned the animal safely to Earth. It was described as a step toward Iran's goal of a manned space flight. But it also renewed concerns that advances in Iran's rocket expertise could help develop long-range weapons that might one day carry nuclear warheads.

The U.S. State Department says there's no way to confirm the monkey's voyage, but that it's concerned by the reports because the launch would be "directly relevant to the development of long-range ballistic missiles."

But John Logsden, a space policy professor emeritus at George Washington University, says the achievement should draw no concern. He says the Iranians "already had the capability to launch warheads in their region."

The purported voyage of the small monkey -- strapped into a pod resembling an infant's car seat -- would put Iran among just a handful of nations that have sent a primate into space.

%@AP Links

141-c-13-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)-"especially in Israel"-AP Radio Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie reports Iran is claiming an achievement in space flight. (28 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *141 (01/28/13)>> 00:13 "especially in Israel"

140-v-32-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)--Iran says it has launched a monkey into space. More from AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo. (28 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *140 (01/28/13)>> 00:32

APPHOTO CAI120: In this undated image taken from AP Television, scientists in Iran surround a monkey ahead of a space launch. Iran said it had successfully sent the monkey into space on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, describing the launch as another step toward Tehran's goal of a manned space flight. According to a brief report on state TV, the monkey was sent up to a height of 120 kilometers (72 miles) on board a rocket dubbed Pishgam, or Pioneer in Farsi. (AP Photo/AP Video) (28 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO CAI120 (01/28/13)>>