Here’s an offer that’s impossible to refuse.
Iran’s irrepressibly obnoxious president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has volunteered to be the first Iranian astronaut sent into space.
In a recent address to space scientists in Tehran, he volunteered, “I’m ready to be the first Iranian to sacrifice myself for our country’s scientists,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. Maybe something was lost in translation, but the use of the word “sacrifice” didn’t indicate a great deal of faith in the assembled scientists’ ability to get him up there and back safely.
Last week, Iran announced it sent a monkey on a short, 72-mile space flight. There have been reports that an earlier attempt to put a monkey into space failed shortly after launch.
Two years ago, Iran officials said they successfully launched a rocket carrying a turtle, a mouse and some worms. One can only imagine the bad jokes circulating in Iran’s bazaars now that the president has announced that he wants to join their number.
Sending the Iranian leader into space would mean a nice respite from his rigging of elections, setting the police and bands of thugs on peaceful protesters, Holocaust denial and threats to eradicate Israel.
Iran has a manned space flight program, but it’s said to be still five or six years away from sending an astronaut into space. By that time, Ahmadinejad will no longer be president, assuming that Iran adheres to its election laws – not always a given. And he will be 61 or 62, a mere kid by the standards of Iran’s aging theocrats but perhaps a little old for the country’s first astronaut.
Still, it’s a hard offer to pass up, especially for a leader for whom the word “spacey” seems to have been coined.