Iran to fire long-range missiles during drill: news agency

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 30, 2011 7:24 AM
Iran to fire long-range missiles during drill: news agency

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will fire long-range missiles during a naval drill in the Gulf 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 has long-range missile systems including the Shahab-3, which could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East.

In the past week it has threatened to stop ships moving through the strategic Straight of Hormuz if sanctions are imposed on its oil exports over its disputed nuclear program, increasing tension in a long-running standoff with the West.

"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.

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 the West says is a cover to build bomb.

Iran says it would retaliate if attacked. It started a 10-day navy drill Saturday.

"The fire of missiles is the final part of the navy drill," said Mousavi. "The final phase of the drill is to prepare the navy for confronting the enemy in war situations."

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Peter Graff)