The Iranian state news agency claimed Monday that it had launched a monkey 120 km into space and recovered the capsule and monkey but significantly,  without saying where or when. On Jan. 15, DEBKAfile reported  that the forthcoming launch of a monkey into orbit would demonstrate Iran’s capacity to fire long-range ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

 If the Iranians were able to protect a vehicle weighing some 2,000 kilograms from the high temperatures and pressure of re-entry, said one expert, they were good enough engineers to be able to protect a military warhead atop a surface-to-surface missile with a range of several thousand kilometers.