Iranian Leader Wants To Be His Country’s First Astronaut

TEHRAN, Iran (February 4, 2013)--Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he's ready to be the country's first astronaut, sent into space as part of Iran's goal of manned space flight.

Ahmadinejad said he's willing to sacrifice his life for Iran's ambitious space program, according to a report of his comments Monday by the official IRNA news agency.

Iran sent a monkey into space last Monday and described the launch a successful step toward Tehran's plan to send an astronaut into space within the next five to six years.

The monkey named "Pishgam," or "Pioneer" in Farsi, reportedly traveled 72 miles into space and then was safely returned to Earth.

In 2010, Iran said it launched an Explorer rocket into space carrying a mouse, a turtle and worms.


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