TEHRAN, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he's ready to be the first Iranian astronaut sent into space as part of Iran's goal of manned space flight.
Ahmadinejad said he was willing to sacrifice his life for Iran's ambitious space program in comments reported Monday by the official IRNA news agency.
Iran, describing the launch as a successful step toward Tehran's plan to send an astronaut into space within the next five to six years.
The monkey named "Pishgam," or "Pioneer" in Farsi, allegedly traveled 72 miles into space and then safely returned to Earth.
The United States government, however, says there's never been any proof of a successful launch. There has also been significant speculation that the photos used by Iran to "prove" the mission actually showed two different monkeys.
In 2010, Iran said it launched an Explorer rocket into space carrying a mouse, a turtle and worms.