Just days after returning from its alleged trip to orbit, Iran's space simian has granted his first public "interview."
Iranian blogger Mustapha Nik Kerdar says he bribed zoo officials to get exclusive access to the primate, whom he dubbed "Aftab" ("sun"), and posted the whole thing on his blog for our amusement.
"Is your name Aftab ["sun" in Persian], and can we call you that?
"Aftab the monkey: I was sent into space from a street named The Glory of Islam, at a cost of a billion toman, bringing the blessing of peace to all space aficionados and to Iran, the breeder of martyrs, and also to the leader of the astronauts, the supporters of the space [program of] in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also to all the monkeys who were martyred on the path to the conquest of the heights of space. [This came] in advance of the 10 days of Fajr [Iranian Revolution Day celebrations] or what people call the 10 days of suffering... You may call me Aftab.
"What made you decide to become an astronaut?
"Aftab the monkey: Truly, we [monkeys] are mistaken in thinking that we want to, or like to, become astronauts and go into space. What does a monkey have to do with space? We belong in the treetops! But after being kidnapped by the sinful soldier brothers of the Imam Zaman [usually referring to the Mahdi; here it is apparently mocking Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei], I was transferred to Evin [Prison], where I spend six months in solitary confinement. After that [came] interrogation by the confession brothers, under the guidance of brother Hossein the interrogator, and I resisted. Ultimately, they brought in a large bear who called me a rabbit. I broke; I volunteered to become an Islamic astronaut in order to destroy the plundering Israel and the imperialist America. I only insisted that they present me as an astronaut who is a member of the Basij. They refused, and I don't know why.
"All in all, how long did it take you to become an astronaut?
"Aftab the monkey: If you count the time I spent in solitary [and in Evin] and in training, I managed to attain this great honor in under a year. Indeed, I [would like to give] special thanks to my brother Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of the state and the servant of Imam Zaman, who was my model in carrying out this divine mission."
It goes on... you can read the rest here.
In the end, Aftab the space monkey has high hopes for the galactic future of Iran:
"Thank you. Is there anything you want to tell our readers?
"Aftab the monkey: My words to young people are to keep these slogans at the forefront of their revolutionary lives: 'The road to Jerusalem leads through Mars'; 'War, war, until the sun in space is conquered'; 'Uranus, Uranus, we are coming'; 'Rocket, rocket to victory'; 'God, God, protect [Ayatollah] Jannati to the next galaxy'..."