A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Monkey Gap: Iran Can Now Threaten to Rain Monkeys on its Neighbors

Events in Egypt kept me from reporting yesterday on the latest aspect of the Iranian threat: the Islamic republic is closing the monkey gap.  Even if Iran abandons its nuclear program, it may soon threaten its neighbors with a rain of primates from the sky. PressTV:

As this space.com report on the history of monkeys in space notes, Iran has caught up with the United States, or at least to where the United States was in June 1948! That's less than 65 years ago! (This was a simple up and down test, not an attempt at orbiting the monkey.)

Of course, the spoilsport US is saying they can't confirm the monkey's flight and if it's true it may have violated a UN Resolution, but that's predictable sour grapes. It's a great step upward from Iran's previous launch of a rat, two turtles, and some worms in 2010. (A 2011 monkey launch failed, apparently to the detriment of the monkey in question.) A rat, two turtles and some worms are hardly a threat to Iran's neighbors, but think about this: monkeys throw poop.

All joking aside, the West of course interprets non-US/European/Russian/Chinese space launches (except by Israel, India, Brazil and sometimes Pakistan) (which pretty much means Iran, North Korea, and sometimes Pakistan) as ballistic missile technology tests, while Iran is insistent it hopes to put a man into space by 2019 or 2020. (Ahmadinejad will be unemployed later this year, but I won't make a joke since I'm sure many Iranians already have, perhaps involving the monkey.)

At least for now, I'm not panicking about the monkey gap.

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