Iran will fire long-range missiles during a naval drill in the Gulf on Saturday, a semi-official news agency reported, a show of force at a time when Iran has threatened to close shipping lanes if the West imposes sanctions on its oil exports.
Iran threatened on Tuesday to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if it became the target of an oil export embargo over its nuclear ambitions, a move that could trigger military conflict with countries dependent on Gulf oil.
“The Iranian navy will test several kinds of its missiles, including its long-range missiles, in the Persian Gulf on Saturday,” Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, deputy commander of the Iranian navy, told Fars news agency.
During military drills in 2009, Iran test-fired its surface-to-surface Shahab-3 missile, said to be capable of reaching reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East.
Washington has expressed concern about Tehran’s missiles, which include the Shahab-3 strategic intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of up to 1,000 km (625 miles), the Ghadr-1 with an estimated 1,600 km range and a Shahab-3 variant known as Sajjil-2 with a range of up to 2,400 km.
Iran began a 10-day naval drill in the Gulf last Saturday to show its resolve to counter any attack by foes such as Israel or the United States.
Iranian media have said the exercise differed from previous ones in terms of “the vastness of the area of action and the military equipment and tactics that are being employed.”
The United States and Israel have said they do not rule out military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to resolve a dispute over the country’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful but which the West says is a cover to build a bomb.
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