While some still aren't convinced that Iran did in fact send a monkey into space and retrieved it alive, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he was ready to become the country's first astronaut when the time comes.Iran's space program, while criticized by many as a cover for nuclear missile research, has the goal of putting a man into Earth’s orbit by 2020.
Very recently, Iran managed to launch a rocket with a monkey into the higher atmosphere. Riding the wave of patriotism spurred by the success, the president said he was more than willing to become the first man Iran sends to space.
"I'm ready to be the first Iranian to sacrifice myself for our country's scientists," he said in a speech in front of Iran's rocket scientists. There's no lack of volunteers though, he added.
The next step in Iran's program is to send a satellite into orbit. Recently, North Korea did just that, though the satellite may not be functional, and last week, South Korea also successfully launched its first satellite.