Iran said on Saturday (December 14) it had sent a second live monkey into space and brought it back safely, the latest demonstration of the country's missile capabilities, state television reported.
Iranian news channel IRINN showed the Kavoshgar Research rocket stationed at an unknown location and a Rhesus monkey in a cage. The channel then showed the rocket launch into space, which Iran said reached a height of more than 120 kilometres (75 miles).
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the Iranian scientists and experts for successfully sending a second live creature into space, Iranian media reported.
Iran said it launched its first monkey to space in January.
Rouhani used Twitter to mark the latest event, a demonstration of rocket power that is likely to cause concern in the West and among some Gulf states, which are worried about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
He said the monkey was named Fargam and had been returned to earth "safe an sound".
"In total, this is the second monkey sent into space and returned in perfect health to Iran," Rouhani said in another Twitter message.
Deputy head of the Iranian space agency, Hamid Fazeli said he was elated with successful launch.
"Currently the second live Iranian space monkey, named 'Fargam', was launched and reached a height of 120 kilometres and it has been recovered successfully," he said, adding: "This is a proud day for our space experts."
In November, the world's six powers made a breakthrough deal for Tehran to curb its nuclear programme in return for limited sanctions easing.
The agreement appeared to face its first major difficulty on Friday (December 13) with Russia warning that expanding a U.S. sanctions blacklist could seriously complicate the deal's implementation.
The Islamic Republic denies seeking weapons capability and says it seeks only electricity from its uranium enrichment so it can export more of its considerable oil wealth.
The West worries that long-range ballistic technology used to propel Iranian satellites into orbit could be put to use dispatching nuclear warheads to a target.
Iran's Gulf Arab neighbours view Iran missile capabilities as a threat. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have spent heavily in the past few years on advanced U.S.-made missile defence systems.
Iran's efforts to develop and test ballistic missiles and build a space launch capability have contributed to Israeli calls for pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear sites and billions of dollars of U.S. ballistic missile defence spending.
Iran reports it has successfully sent a second live monkey into space and it has been brought back safely.