Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared he is prepared to risk his life and become the first human to be sent into space by his country's fledgling space programme.
"I'm ready to be the first Iranian to be sacrificed by the scientists of my country and go into space", said state media as reported by BBC. The launch added to western concerns about Iran's space programme because the same rocket technology could potentially be used to deliver a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile.
Last week Iran declared that it had successfully launched a monkey into space and retrieved it alive, which officials hailed as a major step towards their goal of sending humans into space, but the photo evidence provided by Iran caused confusion as to whether monkey did indeed make the journey.
Iran insisted that it really did send a monkey into space – and the confusion over the simian's identity was down to state media showing the wrong animal. While the truth in the matter is still unclear, McCain took to Twitter today after learning of Ahmadinejad’s declaration and decided to compare him to the so called space monkey, "So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space – wasn’t he just there last week?".
Some on Twitter applauded the joke, but many others did not find it so amusing. The item was retweeted over 1,400 times, and some people said the joke was racist. The account of Rep. Justin Amash (R., Mich.) tweeted a response: "Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes".
John McCain basically just called Ahmadinejad a monkey on Twitter. It’s not the kind of joke a senator should make.
— Kathryn Elizabeth(@rynthetyn), February 4, 2013
What the hell is wrong with you? Do you think that helps?
— Emily Suess (@EmilySuess), February 4, 2013
Wow. What a car wreck McCain has become. MT @stevesilberman: @senjohnmccain + Twitter = Not a flattering combo #GOP bit.ly/UnIvKG
— erik westin (@erikwestin) February 4, 2013
Glad he didn’t win the presidential elections.
— Shoaib A. Farooqui (@bayhosh), February 4, 2013
The McCain account followed with a second item: "lighten up folks, can’t everyone take a joke?".
As reported by Wall Street Journal, Ana Navarro, a Republican adviser who was the national Hispanic co-chair of Mr. McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said "John McCain is John McCain – he’s going to have his Navy pilot sense of humor until the day he dies – you either get it or you don’t – and I thought it was funny".
The senator writes all of his own tweets, and that the one about Mr. Ahmadinejad was a joke, said a spokesman for McCain.