[Iran Nuke Issue]
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran has successfully test-fired three
new models of sea missiles in a show of force to assert its military capacities
in the Gulf, military officials said Friday.
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard tests the
long-range Shahab-3 missile during maneuvers in a central desert area of Iran,
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards test-fired dozen of
missiles, including the long-range Shahab-3, during the first hours of new
military maneuvers, Iranian state-run television said Thursday.
Television showed footage of the elite Revolutionary Guards firing the
missiles from warships and from mobile launching pads on the shore.
Iranian forces have previously test-fired missiles in the crowded Gulf
waters, but the new maneuvers, which began on Thursday, appeared to be Iran's
response to a U.S.-led military exercise held earlier this week in the same
"The maneuvers are not a threat to any neighboring country," said Gen. Ali
Fazli, the spokesman for the Iranian war games.
Iran nonetheless insisted the new sea missiles enhanced its military muscle
in the Gulf, where most of the world's oil is extracted.
The weapons are "suitable for covering all the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian
gulf and the sea of Oman," said Adm. Sardar Fadavi, the deputy navy chief of the
Some 20 percent of the world's oil supply passes every day through the
strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The three new types of missiles, named Noor, Kowsar, and
Nasr, have a range of about 106 miles and were built for naval warfare, TV reported. Iranian sea missiles previously had a range of 75 miles, TV
quoted Fadavi as saying.
|Iran's Revolutionary Guards fire missiles during a war game in a
desert near the holy city of Qom, southeast of Tehran, November 2, 2006.
The new tests demonstrate Iran's military capacities at sea, the admiral
State TV said the new missiles were Iranian-made and could be used in
lant-to-sea or sea-to-sea warfare. It did not give more details about the
The Revolutionary Guards began the maneuvers, named "Great Prophet," on
Thursday by firing dozens of long-range missiles in a desert area of central
Iran insisted the renewed saber-rattling was not intended at intimidating
countries in the region. "We are in good interaction with our neighbors," said
Fazli, the military spokesman.
On Thursday, however, Iran said it hoped the war games would send world
powers a strong message. "We want to show our deterrent and defensive power to
trans-regional enemies, and we hope they will understand the message," the head
of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, said in a clear reference
to the United States, Britain and France, who were among the six nations that
took part in the Gulf maneuvers this week.
Iran called "adventurist" the U.S.-led naval exercise that ended on Monday,
criticizing Arab states that took part and saying Gulf nations would be safer if
they organized their own security alliance _an implicit criticism of American
military presence in the region.
The U.S. Fifth fleet is stationed in Bahrain, a tiny oil kingdom located
across the Gulf from Iran.
Iran remains locked in dispute with the West over its nuclear program, which
Washington says is geared to producing atomic weapons but Tehran says is only
for generating electricity.
Asked about Thursday's maneuvers, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said
she thought the Iranians "are trying to demonstrate that they are tough."
The Islamic Republic has already held three large-scale military exercises
this year. In its April exercises, Iran tested what it called an "ultra-horizon"
missile, which is fired from helicopters and jet fighters, and the Fajr-3
missile, which can reportedly evade radar and use multiple warheads to hit
several targets simultaneously.
While U.S. officials have suggested that Iran is exaggerating the
capabilities of its newly developed weapons, Washington and its allies have been
watching the country's progress in missile technology with concern.
The U.S.-led maneuvers that finished Monday focused on surveillance, with
warships tracking a vessel suspected of carrying nuclear components or illegal
weapons. The nations that took part were Australia, Bahrain, Britain, France,
Italy and the United States.
The U.N. Security Council is considering imposing sanctions on Iran, which
has ignored demands that it cease uranium enrichment, a process that can produce
the fuel for nuclear reactors or material for atomic bombs.
Russia, a veto yielding power at the Security Council, said it opposed the
U.N. sanctions in their current form.