Iran test-fires long range missiles on last day of Gulf war games: navy commander

An Iranian naval vessel fires a missile during exercises in the Strait of Hormuz. (Al Arabiya)

Iran said on Monday it has successfully test-fired two long-range missiles during its naval exercise in the Gulf, the official IRNA news agency reported.

A Qader ground-to-ship cruise missile and a Nour surface-to-surface missile were launched in the tests, which came after the test-firing on Sunday of a medium-range ground-to-air missile in the area, according to Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi.

A shorter-range Nasr missile able to hit targets up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) away was also to be tested Monday, he said.

Iran has been holding the 10-day naval exercise at a time of increased tension with Western powers over its nuclear programme, according to Reuters.

Iran has long-range missile systems, which could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East.

The Qader cruise missile “built by Iranian experts successfully hit its target and destroyed it,” Mousavi was quoted as saying by the IRNA news agency.

He said it was “the first time” a Qader missile had been tested, according to AFP.

Hours later a Nour missile “was also fired from a vessel in the sea today,” he told the state broadcaster IRIB.

Tehran threatened last week to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if it became the target of an oil embargo over its nuclear ambitions. The European Union has said it is considering a ban -- already in place in the United States -- on imports of Iranian crude.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet said it will not allow any disruption of traffic in the vital oil shipping route.

The United States and Israel say they have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to resolve a dispute over the nuclear programme, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West believes is a cover for trying to build atomic bombs.

On Sunday, Iran successfully test-fired a medium-range surface-to-air missile during navy war games taking place near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Mousavi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

“This medium-range surface-to-air missile is equipped with the latest technology to combat radar-evading targets and intelligent systems which try to disrupt missile navigation,” Mousavi said earlier.

He said it was the first time Iran had tested the missile, which was “domestically designed and built,” according to AFP.

The missile’s launch and the war games are meant to show Iran’s military capabilities at a time that the United States and other Western nations are increasing pressure over Tehran's nuclear program.

Twenty percent of the world’s oil passes through the strait, making it the “most important chokepoint” globally, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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