Ahmadinejad Volunteers To Become First Iranian In Space | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Ahmadinejad Volunteers To Become First Iranian In Space

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he's ready to become the first Iranian in space.

Britain's Independent reports:

"'I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists,' Ahmadinejad said on the sidelines of an exhibition of space achievements in Tehran, according to the Mehr news agency.

"'Sending living things into space is the result of Iranian efforts and the dedication of thousands of Iranian scientists.'"

Of course, this comes less than a week after Iran said it had successfully sent a monkey into space. So, as you can imagine, the jokes haven't been kind.

Take Sen. John McCain, for example. He tweeted:

"So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space - wasn't he just there last week? 'Iran launches monkey into space' http://news.yahoo.com/iran-launches-monkey-space-showing-missile-progress-003037176.html ..."

As Al Jazeera reports, the tweet has already provoked quite a bit of backlash with critics calling McCain racist. (But, as you might remember, McCain seems to like to make jokes about the country. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he sang "Bomb, Bomb, Iran.")

McCain brushed off the criticism tweeting, "lighten up folks, can't everyone take a joke."

But to the serious issue of space travel: As we reported, Iran's monkey exploits are already being questioned. And if Iran does send Ahmadinejad will we ever be satisfied with the proof presented by the regime? Or will it become a thing of legend, like the departed North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's stunning sporting accomplishments?

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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