Moscow, Feb 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A week after Iran sent a monkey into orbit, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he is ready to become the country's first astronaut, the Mehr news agency reported Monday.
"I am ready to become the first human to be sent into space by Iranian scientists," Ahmadinejad said on the sidelines of an exhibition of space industry achievements in Tehran.
Iran launched a monkey into space last week as part of preparations for a manned space mission.
The capsule with the monkey reportedly traveled 120 km into space and then returned to Earth safely.
"Sending living things into space is the result of Iranian efforts and the dedication of thousands of Iranian scientists," Ahmadinejad said.
Iran launched its first domestically-produced satellite Omid (Hope) in 2009, an endeavour that made it the ninth country with the ability to launch satellites.
In 2010, Iran launched a Kavoshagar-3 rocket that delivered a rat, two turtles and a worm into space.
Western powers suspect Iran of using its space programme to develop ballistic missiles. Iran denies the allegations.