TEHRAN-Iran said that it had safely returned a monkey to Earth after blasting it into space in the second such launch this year in its controversial ballistic programme. President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the scientists involved in the mission, in a message carried by the official IRNA news agency. The report added that the rocket reached a height of 120 kilometres (75 miles).
In January, Iran said it had successfully brought a live monkey , which it named Pishgam (Pioneer), back to Earth from orbit. But the experiment’s success was disputed, when a different monkey was presented to the media after the landing. An earlier attempt had failed in September 2011. Iran’s space programme has prompted concern among Western governments, which fear Tehran is trying to master the technology required to deliver a nuclear warhead. The Islamic republic insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. “By the grace of God and through the efforts of Iranian space scientists, the Pajohesh (research) rocket containing the second live space monkey , named Fargam (Auspicious), was sent into space and brought back to Earth safely,” Rouhani said in his message.