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Photos show wrong monkey, Iranian space official explains

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 8:08 p.m.

TEHRAN — One of two official packages of photos of Iran's simian space traveler depicted the wrong monkey, but a primate really did fly into space and return safely to Earth, a senior Iranian space official said on Saturday.

The two different monkeys in the photos released by Iran's state media caused international observers to wonder whether the monkey had died in space or that the launch did not go well.

One set of pictures showed a relatively dark-haired monkey. Another showed a different monkey — strapped in a pod — that had light gray hair and a distinctive red mole above its right eye.

The space agency official, Mohammad Ebrahimi, said the first images provided to Iran's official news outlets to illustrate their reports had mistakenly shown another of the five monkeys that trained for the flight at the space agency — the one with the mole — and not the one that had actually taken part in the space mission.

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