“Iran joined the international dash for space in earnest on Monday [January 28 2013] when it claimed to have successfully launched a live monkey into space in an Iranian-built space capsule.
Iranian media reported that the country’s space agency had sent the creature 75 miles (120 km) above the Earth in a Kavoshgar rocket capsule named Pishgam (Pioneer). Though the report has yet to be independently verified, officials said the capsule had returned intact and the monkey was still alive after its sub-orbital experience. […]
Iran’s defence minister, General Ahmad Vahidi, described the launch as a “big step for our experts and scientists”. He said it was merely the initial phase of a broader Iranian plan to send humans into space by 2020.”
(source, video here)