- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The latest in a recent string of Iranian announcements on its space program came Tuesday, when the country vowed to launch an astronaut by 2018.

State-run media Mehr said Iran will first attempt a suborbital space exploration, at a distance of about 125 miles, The Associated Press reports. That flight will last about 30 minutes, according to the report.

AP reports Iran is currently training two astronauts for flight between 2016 and 2018 — but no word on whether one of those is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who announced earlier this week that he was “ready” to go into space.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement followed Iran’s supposed launch of a monkey. That report was questioned, however, when the before-after launch pictures showed the monkey sporting different colored fur.