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Iran's space monkey causes a global stir

Iran's space monkey causes a global stir
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Iran claims to have successfully sent a live monkey into space, causing international consternation.

The primate made the journey in a pioneer rocket, reaching an altitude of 120 kilometres.

State television showed footage of the monkey strapped into a harness and being placed in the rocket.

International concern centres on the idea that similar spacecraft could be used to carry nuclear warheads.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for energy generation only. But the US says the monkey launch violates UN rules, while the EU is waiting for Iran to agree to fresh talks on the issue.

Officials say the monkey arrived back unscathed. Experts say the launch could be a significant advance in more ways than one. Tehran has announced it wants to send a man into space by 2019.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters she could not confirm whether Iran had
successfully sent a monkey into space or conducted any launch at all, saying that if it had done so “it’s a serious concern”.

Nuland said such a launch would violate UN Security Council Resolution 1929, whose text bars Iran from “any activity
related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”