News from Iran about a Tehrani scientist who claimed to have invented a "time traveling machine" capable of seeing into people's five-year-plan with 98% accuracy made headlines yesterday in nearly every country besides Iran.

That's because Iran's "semi-official" Fars News Agency, which broke the "news," quickly scrubbed the report from its website after realizing that, rather than make the country seem futuristic, it actually did the exact opposite.

The now-deleted piece claims Ali Razeghi's Aryayek Time Traveling Machine "satisfies all the needs of human society," and quotes the Center for Strategic Inventions managing director as saying that his device will help Iran's government "prepare itself for challenges that might destabilize it."

Not much is said about the device itself, except that Razaeghi had been working on it since he was 17, and that it "fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users."

In other words, it's not really time machine, but rather more of a glorified Magic 8 Ball, minus the accuracy.

Not particularly surprising then that the Time Traveling Machine wasn't seen by the international media as the game-changer Razaeghi and his state-run agency believe it to be.

It certainly didn't help Razeghi's case that he claimed to be holding back on launching a prototype because of fears "that the Chinese will steal the idea and produce it in millions overnight."

Once again, too late.

And it was too late for Fars: The story went ultra-viral yesterday, ensuring that "time travel" joins stealth fighters, VTOL drones, long-range missiles, and space monkeys in the ever-growing list of Iranian advancements that end up setting the country back.

[image via AngelFire]