Iran said on Saturday that it had safely returned a monkey to Earth after blasting it into space in the second such launch this year in its controversial ballistic programme. President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the scientists involved in the mission, in a message carried by Iran's official IRNA news agency. In January, Iran said it had successfully brought a live monkey back to Earth from orbit. But the experiment's success was disputed, when a different monkey was presented to the media after the landing. An earlier attempt had failed in September 2011. Iran's space programme has prompted concern among Western governments, which fear Tehran is trying to master the technology required to deliver a nuclear warhead.