Iranian Minister Draws Snark over Space-suit Post on Twitter
Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s minister of information and communications technology, tweeted – and then deleted – a post showing what appeared to be an amateurish space suit as part of an effort to drum up support for the country’s space program. The February 4 tweet drew derisive and sarcastic comments centering on the costume-like garment, which featured an Iranian flag sewn on the sleeve. On Wednesday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Jahromi as apologizing to the country’s “people and space scientists,” explaining that someone on his staff had “undeniably made a mistake in choosing the image.” On Saturday, Iran launched a satellite that failed to make it into orbit, highlighting problems in a rocket development program that some in the West nevertheless see as an effort to improve a ballistic missile array to the point where the Islamic Republic can heave nuclear warheads for long distances. The launch coincided with national commemorations of the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the shah of Iran and brought the mullahs to power.