Bloggers and news sources have challenged claims by the Iranian government that they successfully launched a monkey into space and retrieved the animal alive on January 28, 2013. Official images — supposedly depicting the monkey before and after the launch — do not appear to match up, casting further doubt and raising suspicions that the launch may have been fake.
Here is the official footage recorded from a national IRIB Channel 1 broadcast:
Many users on the popular Iranian link-sharing site, Balatarin, say the regime is lying and compare photos of the monkey from before the launch with a photo of the one claimed to have been retrieved from the capsule upon return, highlighting physical dissimilarities between the two.
Here they are:
As seen from the lead photo of this post, as well as the one above (right) the first monkey has a mole on its right eyebrow and has grey and shorter hair around the face, while the second monkey one has no mole and dark brown hair around the face.
Netizens reactions to this report range from total skepticism to conspiracy theories:
Iranian blogger ‘Hagh mosalam ma’ (‘Our definite right') takes a satirical approach, and draws parallels between the alleged space mission with the 2009 Iranian presidential election that many consider was rigged. He also jokes:
The monkey that was launched into space was [the Supreme Leader's] buddy, the one that returned was acting weirdly. [...] Using Photoshop you can send monkeys to Mars, not to mention just outside the atmosphere.
Amir Farshad writes in his Blog ‘Hot Chocolate‘ that:
[President] Mahmood Ahmadinejad gave the nation more good news this week on the advent of Fajr festivities [marking the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution victory]: “We launched a monkey into space and managed to perform an aesthetic surgery to remove his mole up there, and then returned him in good health to the arms of the Supreme Leader.”