Iraqi social media users have been mocking Transportation Minister Kadhum Finjan Al-Hamami after he made extraordinary claims that the first airport to have been established on planet earth was by the Sumerian civilisation almost 7,000 years ago.
"The first airport that was established on planet earth was in this place," indicating the city and climes surrounding Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar Province, 370 kilometres southeast of the capital Baghdad.
Not content with this bold claim, Al-Hamami added that angels "were all Sumerian" and that "Sumerian spaceships used to launch from here towards the other planets."
Ancient civilisations that developed in the geographical area of modern day Iraq such as the Babylonians, Akkadians and Sumerians made numerous contributions to the overall development of human civilisation with such inventions as writing and agricultural methods.
However, Al-Hamami's comments appear to attribute far greater scientific and technical advancement to the civilisations that formed within the area commonly described as the Cradle of Civilisation.
Social media responses ranged from disbelief to outright mockery.
"I swear to God, this isn't a joke," one Iraqi going by the pseudonym of Shimmariya Al-Iraq tweeted in disbelief.
والله مو نكته ههههههههههههههههههههههههه
وزير النقل بالعراق يقول السومريون بالعراق كانوا ملائكه ولديهم مركبات فضائيه يتنقلون من العراق للفضاء pic.twitter.com/b4YAG5UanJ
— #IRAQ شمرية العراق (@moonnor27) October 1, 2016
"Iraqi transport minister's hallucinations about spaceships in Nasiriyah proves that the [Haidar] Al-Abadi government is full of fools, hashish addicts and the most worthless of humanity," another user, Dawood Al-Basri, said.
هلوسة وزير النقل العراقي كاظم فنجان عن السفن الفضائية في مدينة الناصرية قديما أمر يثبت بأن حكومة العبادي طراطير وحشاشين وتفاهات بشرية؟؟
— داود البصري (@dawoodalbasri) September 30, 2016
An Iraqi Al Jazeera journalist, Amer Al-Kubaisi, tweeted: "Can you believe that this imbecile is the current Iraqi transportation minister? I thank Allah for the blessing of a brain."
هل تصدقون أن هذا المهرطق هو وزير النقل العراقي الحالي
الملائكة سومريون !?
وعندهم مركبات فضائية ..
والحمد لله على نعمة العقل pic.twitter.com/KBw3EGHNsx
— عامر الكبيسي (@amer_alkubaisi) September 29, 2016
This is not the first scientific gaffe made by senior politicians and members of the Iraqi cabinet. Last year, current Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Ja'afari insisted that the source for Iraq's two main rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, flowed from Iran and not from Turkey.