Iran, in celebration of the Islamic Revolution on February 10, 2013, plans on sending five monkeys into outer space on top of a ballistic missile. The five monkeys will be carried into orbit on top of a Kavoshgar rocket, and they will be in a capsule Iran is calling Pishgam (Pioneer). The West is worried that, if Iran is successful, they will have the ability to launch a nuclear warhead anywhere in the world.
Iran has attempted similar launches in the past. Last October, Iran acknowledged that they had tried to send a monkey into space in the past, but they admitted it was a dismal failure. Iran often disguises their advances in nuclear and missile research as purely scientific exercises.
In February 2009, Iran launched a satellite called Omid into orbit aboard a missile capable of carrying more than 330 kilograms. Western intelligence sources said at the time that the launch was the furthest advance that Iran has made in their quest for a nuclear bomb and the means to deliver it. Israeli intelligence website DEBKA says that the iranian monkey launch will be even more serious because the Iranians can make the Pishgam capsule at any weight they want and then use the calculations to compute the size of a nuclear warhead they can deliver on top of one of their missile.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed in 2011 that Iran “has also been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches, including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payment in contravention of UN Resolution 1929.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency is planning a visit to Iran to resume some level of inspection of their nuclear facilities. There are very few Western leaders who believe that Iran is going to come clean about their nuclear advances. The NSA recently told a Congressional hearing that at their current pace Iran will be able to conduct its first nuclear test in mid 2014.