You know, it might be that someone has been doing that again.
Hundreds of endangered monkeys are being taken from the African bush and sent to a “secretive” laboratory in Iran for scientific experiments.
Manji said scientists at the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute in Iran had bought 215 vervet monkeys from him this year but he had become suspicious about their true motive, although he was still trading with them. They had “spent a lot of money” on getting the monkeys, even sending over scientists to check on each consignment.
“Iran is very secretive,” said Manji, who has been exporting monkeys for 22 years. “They said it [the monkeys] was for ‘our country’, for vaccine. [They said] ‘We don’t buy vaccine from anywhere; we prepare our own vaccine’.
“But I think they use it for something else. You know why? Because they don’t go on kilos. Iran wants [monkeys weighing] 1.5kg to 2.5kg, [but] 1.5kg for vaccine is not possible.”
Rubibira indicated that finding out what the Iranians wanted the monkeys for would be difficult. “They cannot say, you know. They are secretive. They wouldn’t tell the truth.”
The revelation will fuel speculation that the monkeys may be used for research involving biological weapons. Primates are typically used by scientists wishing to test both the effectiveness of germ warfare agents and defences against them.
The Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, which has its headquarters in Karaj, near Tehran, has been accused in the past by an Iranian opposition group of conducting biological weapons testing.
That is indeed one of the basic plots that winds through a Tom Clancy novel: that the Iranians are using monkeys from East Africa to test and manufacture the Ebola virus to use in a biological warfare attack against the US.
Now I suppose the interesting question is who has been reading the novel? The Iranians or the reporters?