Iran Fires Medium-range Missile During Strait of Hormuz Naval Drill

Testing of new anti-radar weapon comes as top Iranian military official defends Tehran's right to respond to western threats by closing off the strategic waterway.

Iran test fired a medium-range anti-radar missile for first time during its 10-day naval drill near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran's state television Press TV said on Sunday.

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Iran Navy Dec. 30, 2011 (AFP)

State TV says the missile is designed to evade radars and was developed by Iranian scientists.

Earlier Sunday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Hossein Salami defended his country's right to close off the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway for the distribution of global crude oil supplies.

"We will respond to any threat by intensified threat and this fact has no time or geographical limitation," Salami told the semi-official Fars news agency adding that "the Strait of Hormoz is a part of our defense geography as well."nm

News of a new Iranian test launch came a day after Iran's senior navy commander denied reports that Iran had test-fired long-range missiles during the naval drill on Saturday, saying the missiles would be launched in the next few days.

Mahmoud Mousavi told Press TV that "the exercise of launching missiles will be carried out in the coming days."

The Fars news agency, Press TV and the state-run IRNA news agency had originally reported that Iran had test-fired long-range and other missiles during the exercise on Saturday.

"All kinds of surface-to-sea, sea-to-sea and surface-to-air as well as shoulder-launched missiles will be tested in the coming days," Mousavi told Press TV.

The 10-day naval drill, which began last Saturday, coincided with increased tension in Iran's nuclear row with Western powers, after the European Union said it was considering a ban - already in place in the United States - on imports of Iranian oil.

Iran says the drill is aimed at showing Iran's resolve to counter any attack by enemies such as Israel or the United States.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out a military option if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran.

The U.S. and its allies say Iran wants to build nuclear bombs under cover of a civilian program of uranium enrichment. Iran denies this.

State media reported on Saturday that Iran is ready to resume nuclear talks with world powers.

Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said in a meeting with a visiting Chinese official in Tehran that Iran was ready to resume talks with the six world powers over its nuclear programs.