Iran intends within weeks to follow through on a previously scuttled plan to launch a monkey into orbit, the nation's top space official said in comments reported on Wednesday by Agence France-Presse.
"The final tests for launching the capsule, carrying a monkey, have been completed," Iran's Mehr News Agency on Tuesday quoted Iranian Space Agency head Hamid Fazeli as saying.
Iran would fire the animal into space during an upcoming time span commemorating the 1979 overthrow of Iran's U.S.-backed government, according to the official. The 10-day event begins on Jan. 31.
Tehran expects it will be able to place a human in space "within five [to] eight years,” Fazeli told Mehr News.
The government's space program has been a concern for other countries, as technology used to deploy satellites can also be applied to ballistic missiles. The nation continues to advance its missile capabilities, but denies claims that it is pursuing a nuclear-weapon capability under the guise of peaceful atomic efforts.