Oh this is good. It's another triumph (£) for Islamic science, as Iran announced a successful launch on Monday of a monkey into space:
The regime proclaimed it as proof that Iranian scientists could match their Western counterparts, evidence that international sanctions were ineffectual, and a stepping stone to a manned flight. Western governments fretted that the rocket technology could be used to carry nuclear warheads.
The problem is that the flight may not actually have taken place.
Before the alleged launch the official Fars news agency and other state-controlled media published several photographs of the monkey – with a distinctive red mole above its right eye and a band of light fur around the side of its head wearing some sort of spacesuit and strapped into the seat that would carry it heavenwards.
Fast forward to the post-flight press conference, at which the regime introduced the heroic astro-monkey. The mole has gone, as has the band of light fur. It is manifestly a different creature.
There are two possible explanations for what might charitably be described as Iranian “monkey business”. One is that the original monkey died during the flight, and the regime was too embarrassed to admit it. It has never confessed to a failed attempt to launch a monkey into space in 2011.
The second explanation is that the launch never happened at all.
Or - a third explanation - there's someone up there who swaps monkeys around.