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Iran cancels project to send human into space

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, surrounded by officials, stands under a research rocket, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. Iran launched a research rocket Monday and unveiled its first major space center that will be used to launch res
AP Photo/ISNA, Mehdi Ghasemi

Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency said on Wednesday that the country had ended its project to explore the possibility of sending humans into space.

The ILNA report quotes Mohammad Homayoun Sadr, deputy head of the space organization, as saying the cost of the project was decided to be prohibitive, coming in at an estimated $15 to $20 billion over 15 years.

The Associated Press news agency reports that the US and other countries have always been uneasy about Iran's space ambitions, concerned that it might feed into the country's ballistic missile project.

Iran claimed to have launched a monkey into space in 2013, and that it successfully brought the primate back to earth alive. However some experts at the time said that the mission had not been successful and media outlets doubted the claim on the basis of photos which appeared to have been of different monkeys. Tehran later said that photos of a monkey in a previous test had been distributed.

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