The Iranian Space Agency announced on Jan. 28 it successfully launched a monkey into space, prompting Iranian blogger Mustapha Nik Kerdar to write a satirical “Exclusive Interview” with the monkey he named “Aftab,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):
“After many efforts, and after bribing the zoo bouncer… our correspondent managed to interview the Iranian space monkey:
“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.