President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to be Iran’s first human in space.
The announcement by Ahmadinejad came on Monday, just one week after the country claimed to have launched a monkey into space and brought it back successfully.
Iranian officials hailed the space adventure as a massive step forward toward launching a human into space, reports Reuters. But Western countries expressed their concerns about the launch.
The same rocket technology used for a space program can potentially also be used to launch a nuclear weapon. Ahmadinejad stated of his dream to be an astronaut:
“I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists … Sending living things into space is the result of Iranian efforts and the dedication of thousands of Iranian scientists.”
President Ahmadinejad is known for sometimes outlandish comments. Because of this, it is not clear if his astronaut suggestion was serious.
The BBC notes that the Iranian president made his space statements on the country’s national day of space technology in Tehran. He also unveiled two new satellites, “Nahid” and “Zohreh.”
Iran has already successfully sent a rat, a turtle, and worms into space. Ahmadinejad announced in 2011 that Iran’s goal is to send a man into space by 2019.
The Iranian president is serving his second and final term in office, which ends in June. It is unclear if Iranian officials would allow Ahmadinejad to be the first Iranian in space, because he has fallen out of favor with parliament. He has also appeared to lose the support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.