- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 15, 2013

Iran said on Saturday it had sent another monkey into space and brought it back alive, representing the nation’s latest step toward sending humans into space, state news agency IRNA reported.

“In total, this is the 2nd monkey sent into space & returned in perfect health to #Iran. I congratulate the Leader, scientists & the nation,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted on Saturday.

Iran said it launched its first monkey to space in January, but that claim was met by criticism when photos of the monkey supposedly used in the launch appeared to show two different monkeys.

The primate used in the second launch is named Fargam, a combination of two Farsi words, “auspicious” and “luck,” CNN reported.

It was launched 75 miles into space and returned within 15 minutes, IRNA reported.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that while the story cannot be confirmed, “our concerns with Iran’s development of space launch vehicle technologies are obviously well-known: Any space launch vehicle capable of placing an object in orbit is directly relevant to the development of long-range ballistic missiles,” CNN reported.

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