Iran's space monkey 'exposed as a fake'
Iran's supposedly triumphant venture of sending a monkey into space may have been exposed as a fake, photographs have suggested.
Earlier this week, Iran announced that it had sent a live monkey into space in the 'Pioneer' rocket and later retrieved it intact after travelling to an altitude of 75 miles.
Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said: "The monkey which was sent in this launch landed safely and alive and this is a big step for our experts."
But photographs that show differences in the monkey's appearance, before and after the launch, appear to show two different monkeys.
Before the launch, state media posted photographs of the monkey with a red mole and light fur.
Upon the monkey's "return", the mole had vanished, as had the fur.
The photographs have led to speculation that either the capsule never returned, or that the launch never took place.
Iran has said that it wants to put satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation, improve telecommunications and expand military surveillance in the region.