Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iranian scientists are on schedule to launch the country's first manned mission to space in seven years' time.
"The plan is in line with an Iran space agency program to produce and place in orbit a spacecraft at an altitude of more than 35,000 kilometers," IRNA reported the Iranian president as saying on Thursday.
President Ahmadinejad made the comments during a speech in the western Iranian city of Hamedan.
He said that the country's growth and scientific breakthroughs in different areas are occurring despite the West's sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The Iranian chief executive further noted that the presence of Iranians in space will be indicative of Iran's control of space.
According to Iranian officials, the country's Aerospace Organization kicked off a 12-year project in 2009 to send an astronaut into space by 2021.
The comprehensive plan for the project clarifies the roles which academic and research institutions must play to bring about the successful space mission by 2021.
However, the Iranian government reviewed the space mission last month and decided to launch a manned shuttle into space by 2019.