On Thursday, Iranian state media put out the message from Hamid Fazeli, head of Iran's Space Organisation: "The Kavoshgar-5 rocket will be launched during the month of Mordad (July 23 to August 23) with a 285-kilogram capsule carrying a monkey to an altitude of 120 kilometres."
And our minds flashed back. In February, President Ahmadinejad had unveiled a space capsule designed to take a live monkey into space. But a year before that, after Iran had put some smaller non-monkey creatures beyond the stratosphere, EA had predicted the development, albeit with our tongues in our cheeks:
Earlier this week, President Ahmadinejad declared the Mother of All Space Triumphs for the Islamic Republic with the launch of a satellite-boosting rockets. Iran's brave astro-warriors were two turtles, a mouse, and some worms.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Space Age victory has turned into a defeat. As soon as the rocket was beyond Iranian air space, the turtle-astronauts sent radio messages to the Free World announcing their resignation from their duties with the Islamic Republic. They asked the US Government to grant them political asylum and, hopefully, a ride back on the Space Shuttle.
Mir Hossein Mousavi, taking immediate advantage of the situation, called the turtles "brave members of the Green Party".
There is still no news about the whereabouts of the worms, but EA WorldView has picked up signals of a press conference from inside the capsule in which the "rat" has denounced the decision by the turtles and called them "agents of Zionists and monarchists". There are rumours that a fight has broken out between the animals in the midst of the weightlessness.
BREAKING NEWS: President Ahmadinejad has just told reporters that Iran will free three detained American hikers in exchange for the return of the turtles, whom he claimed had been abducted by the CIA.
Ahmadinejad also denied that he was ever inside the space capsule with a monkey, as they are "just good friends".