Ahmadinejad says ready to be Iran’s first spaceman

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a media conference. — Photo by Reuters

TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday he is ready “to be the first man in space” under Iran’s ambitious programme which aims to send a human being into orbit by 2020.

“Our youth are determined to send a man into space within the next four, five years, and I’m sure that will happen,” he said during a ceremony in Tehran where two new Iranian-made satellites were unveiled, according to ISNA news agency.

“I’m ready to be the first Iranian to be sacrificed by the scientists of my country and go into space, even though I know there are a lot of candidates,”Ahmadinejad quipped.

He added to the buoyant atmosphere, saying he was willing to “auction (himself) and donate” the money to the Iran’s space programme, which has shrunk because of international economic sanctions over Tehran’s controversial nuclear drive, ISNA reported.

The presidency website showed pictures of Ahmadinejad at the ceremony with what was purportedly Pishgam (pioneer), the monkey sent into orbit by Tehran last week.

The monkey’s launch was presented by the Islamic republic as a first step towards sending a human into orbit by 2020.

Ahmadinejad unveiled on Monday two small satellites, named “Nahid” and “Zohreh” (Venus in Farsi and Arabic, respectively).

Nahid, an observation satellite equipped with solar panels, is intended to orbit at an altitude of between 250 and 370 kilometres (155 to 230 miles). Iran has put three other small satellites into the same orbit since 2009.

Zohreh is a geostationary communications satellite that will be placed at an altitude of 36,000 kilometres (22,370 miles), something Iran has never tried before. No launch date was given.

Iran’s space programme deeply unsettles Western nations, which fear it could be used to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads they suspect are being developed in secret, despite denials from Tehran.

The technology used in space rockets can also be used in ballistic missiles. The UN Security Council has imposed an almost total embargo on the export of nuclear and space technology to Iran since 2007.

Tehran denies its space programme has any link with its alleged nuclear ambitions.

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3 thoughts on “Ahmadinejad says ready to be Iran’s first spaceman”

  1. North Korea sends up a satellite, they are threatened. South Korea sends up a satellite, they are celebrated. Iran sends a monkey into space, they get threatened. China sends a man into space, the U.S stays quiet. If you are not allowing the U.S to plunder your country, or you refuse to accept American domination(American exceptionalism), you get threatened. In you rule a country by force, but you’re America’s friend, you get weapons and silence while you oppress your people. If you are chosen by your people in a democratic election, but the results don’t suit the U.S, you get threatened. The United States of Threateamerica is a fascinating concept. Are they going to take our spoons, knives and forks away next, to pre-empt the possibility of us making ‘shivs?’

    The answer to your question, whether you are crazy, or the others are, is quite simple. You know the answer. It’s you. Because being evil is the ‘new virtue.’ You’re crazy mate. Cheers. Thanks4the visit.

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