It seems claims of Iran that it had sent a monkey to space and had managed to return it alive might either be partially or completely a boastful lie.
Iran’s triumphant claim that it successfully sent a monkey into space may have been nothing more than hot air.
Tehran chalked up a victory against its Western detractors this week by presenting – with considerable fanfare – its first simian space traveller.
Iran claimed to be one small monkey step away from manned space flight.
In Israel, there was concern that Monday’s apparently successful rocket launch proved Iran had overcome crippling international sanctions to develop advanced technology that could be used to power nuclear warheads.
But the fear has since subsided with the release of images from a press conference billed as a hero’s welcome for Iran’s first monkey astronaut.
The monkey triumphantly presented to the nation’s media in his own silk tuxedo appeared markedly different to the creature that was picture strapped into a rocked prior to its launch into space.
That animal had light fur and a distinctive red mole over its right eye. But the monkey that returned was dark haired and had no mole.
“It looks like a very different monkey, the nose, the features, everything is different,” said Yariv Bash, founder and CEO of Space Israel, a non profit organisation working to send an unmanned Israel space ship to the moon.
“This means that either the original monkey died from a heart attack after the rocket landed or that the experiment didn’t go that well,” Mr Bash concluded.
Dismissing as remote the possibility that space flight had a dramatic physical affect on the Iranian monkey, international observers have concluded that either the original animal died in space or that the launch — timed to coincide with the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution – simply never took place.