Iran has apparently sent a live monkey into space in a capsule, which was later retrieved in tact.
Arabic-language channel Al-Alam and other Iranian news agencies said the monkey returned alive after travelling in the capsule to an altitude of 120 kilometres (75 miles) for a sub-orbital flight.
Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said: "This success is the first step towards man conquering the space and it paves the way for other moves", but added that the process of putting a human into space would be a lengthy one.
"Today's successful launch follows previous successes we had in launching (space) probes with other living creatures (on board)," he added.
"The monkey which was sent in this launch landed safely and alive and this is a big step for our experts and scientists."
Iranian state television showed still pictures of the capsule and of a monkey being fitted with a vest and then placed in a device similar to a child's car-seat.
A previous attempt in 2011 by the Islamic republic to put a monkey into space failed. No official explanation was ever given.
Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation, improve telecommunications and expand military surveillance in the region.
Western powers are concerned that the long-range ballistic technology used to propel Iranian satellites into orbit could be used to launch nuclear warheads.
Tehran denies such suggestions and says its nuclear activity is for peaceful energy only.
The Security Council has imposed on Iran an almost total embargo on nuclear and space technologies since 2007.
Tehran has repeatedly denied that its nuclear and scientific programmes mask military ambitions.
Iran's previous satellite launches were met by condemnation from the West who accused Tehran of "provocation".