"She has been told, however, to remove an Iranian flag from her spacesuit and, at the insistence of the Russian and U.S. governments, promise that there will be no political messages during her trip."
By Shamil Zhumatov
"BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft blasted off on Monday carrying a woman set to notch up three space records: the first female tourist, first female Muslim, and first Iranian in orbit.
Anousheh Ansari, 40, an Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur, joined a Russian cosmonaut and U.S. astronaut in the cramped interior of Soyuz TMA-9 for a flight to the International Space Station (ISS).Ansari, a U.S. citizen based in Dallas, Texas who left Iran in 1984, has said she wants to be an example to her compatriots.
"I think my flight has become a sort of ray of hope for young Iranians living in Iran, helping them to look forward to something positive, because everything they've been hearing is all so very depressing and talks of war and talks of bloodshed," Ansari told Reuters last week.
She has been told, however, to remove an Iranian flag from her spacesuit and, at the insistence of the Russian and U.S. governments, promise that there will be no political messages during her trip.
Looking relaxed and smiling at a pre-launch news conference at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday, Ansari said she would still pack another Iranian flag for her trip." - Iranian-born space tourist blasts off into orbit