Iran will parade its ballistic rocket achievements by sending monkeys into space next month. Hamid Fazeli, head of the country’s space agency said Tuesday, Jan. 15 that the launch would be part of the celebrations leading up to the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Feb. 10 and part of the program for putting humans in orbit in 2020.
Five monkeys in a capsule named Pishgam (Pioneer) will be carried into orbit by a Kavoshgar rocket and orbit earth 120-130 kilometers in space, he said. Western space experts are dubious about Iran’s ability to send a capsule into orbit and expect the monkeys to come down to earth quite soon.
This is not the first such attempt to be touted by Tehran. Last October, Iran acknowledged that an attempt to send a live monkey into space on August 1 was a failure.
debkafile reports that the Iranians habitually mask the advances in their nuclear and missile programs by claiming they are purely in the interests of scientific research.
Since firing the first Iranian-made satellite, the 27-kilogram Omid launched in February 2009, debkafile’s military sources report that they have developed a rocket with a payload capacity of 330 kilograms, which is capable of placing nuclear warheads anywhere on the face of the earth. After Omid, American and Israeli rocket and intelligence experts warned both their governments that Iran’s success in space technology represents the most dangerous breakthrough in their development of a military nuclear device and means of delivery. However, neither the Obama administration nor the Netanyahu government heeded this warning.
Since there is no precise information about the size and weight of the space capsule due to carry the monkeys into orbit, it is impossible to compute the size of the nuclear warhead the rockets can deliver.
Two years ago, June 29, 2011, British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed that Iran “has also been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches, including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payment in contravention of UN Resolution 1929.”
However, Tehran has taken the precaution of greeting the coming visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency delegation with its usual proclamation of nuclear innocence. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that a religious decree issued by Iran’s supreme leader banning nuclear weapons is binding on the Iranian government. The West must understand, he said, “There is nothing higher than the exalted supreme leader’s fatwa to define the framework for our activities in the nuclear field.”