Iran said on Monday it had launched a live monkey into space, seeking to show off missile systems that have alarmed the West because the technology could potentially be used to deliver a nuclear warhead.The Defence Ministry announced the launch as world powers sought to agree a date and venue with Iran for resuming talks to resolve a standoff with the West over Tehran’s contested nuclear programme before it degenerates into a new Middle East war. Efforts to nail down a new meeting have failed repeatedly and the powers fear Iran is exploiting the diplomatic vacuum to hone the means to produce nuclear weapons.
The Islamic Republic denies seeking weapons capability and says it seeks only electricity from its uranium enrichment so it can export more of its considerable oil wealth.
The powers have proposed new talks in February, a spokesman for the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Monday, hours after Russia urged all concerned to “stop behaving like children” and commit to a meeting.
Iran earlier in the day denied media reports of a major explosion at one of its most sensitive, underground enrichment plants, describing them as Western propaganda designed to influence the nuclear talks.
The Defence Ministry said the space launch of the monkey coincided “with the days of” the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, which was last week, but gave no date, according to a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA.
The launch was “another giant step” in space technology and biological research “which is the monopoly of a few countries”, the statement said.
The small grey monkey was pictured strapped into a padded seat and being loaded into the Kavoshgar rocket dubbed “Pishgam”(Pioneer) which state media said reached a height of more than120 km (75 miles).
“This shipment returned safely to Earth with the anticipated speed along with the live organism,” Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the semi-official Fars news agency. “The launch of Kavoshgar and its retrieval is the first step towards sending humans into space in the next phase.“There was no independent confirmation of the launch.
Copyright © 2013 euronewsMore about:
- 1Mandela Memorial Sign Language Interpreter a ‘Fraud’
- 2Topless FEMEN protesters storm German football TV show
- 3Uruguay makes history by legalising entire marijuana market
- 4Putin’s state of the nation address: “we are not trying to be a superpower”
- 5Ukraine’s deputy prime minister in talks with EU commissioner
- 1Uruguay makes history by legalising entire marijuana market
- 2Mandela Memorial Sign Language Interpreter a ‘Fraud’
- 3Riot police raid Kyiv’s central square
- 4What’s God got to do with it?, asks Nobel Prize in Physics winner
- 5Italy: ‘Pitchfork protesters’ disrupt road and rail travel in protest at state of economy
- 01:16 CET U.N. confirms chemical arms were used repeatedly in Syria
- 01:01 CET Central African Republic humanitarian crisis mounts even as…
- 00:58 CET Guinea opposition says will sit in Assembly despite poll dispute
- 00:08 CET Tunisia’s Islamists and opposition reach deal on premier
- 23:23 CET Biden, Japan PM Abe discuss East China Sea dispute
- 22:24 CET White House bid to hold off Iran sanctions gains backing
- 21:15 CET U.S. vows support for Syrian opposition despite troubles
- 21:05 CET Mafia death threat shows Italy still haunted by 1992 murders