On Sunday, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally that its space program has successfully launched a "living creature" into space for the first time in the nation's history and returned it safely to earth, according to a Feb. 10 report by Iran's propaganda media IRNA.
At a large rally which commemorated the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ahmadinejad did not identify what animal was launched into space although most observers suspect that it was a monkey. Last week, U.S. senator John McCain (Ariz., Rep.) referred to the Iranian leader as a monkey when Ahmadinejad said that he wanted to be the first Iranian in space.
The Middle Eastern nation's space program is viewed by the West as a threat to global stability since Iran has shown that it now possesses intercontinental ballistic missile technology. Combined with its ambitious nuclear program, which is expected to conduct nuclear test explosions before the summer, Iran could mount nuclear warheads on long-range missiles before the end of the year. Such a development could lead to air attacks from Israel.
Also on Sunday, IRNA announced that Iran has successfully tested its latest air-to-air missile dubbed "Fakour 90". Deputy defense minister Mehdi Farahi made the announcement on Saturday. The new missiles serve as a deterrent to any Israeli air attack and was fired from F14 fighter jets. It is believed that Israel has 125 U.S.-made F16 fighter jets as well as a dozen bombers.
General Farahi said that "Qader" and "Nasr" air-based cruise missiles will be tested in near future. Last week, deputy chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri announced that Iran will unveil new weapons systems in the next few weeks such as new tanks, armored vehicles, missiles systems, and aircraft.
Iran has had a long history of sharing its weapons and military technology with terrorist organizations around the world, including Hamas in the West Bank and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Shipments are typically routed through nations such as Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Egypt.
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