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Iran tests anti-ship missiles

by Staff Writers
Tehran (UPI) Feb 9, 2011
Tehran announced that it is mass-producing ballistic missiles that can travel three times the speed of sound and hit naval targets on the high seas.

Cmdr. Mohammad Ali Jafari, who heads the elite military force, the Revolutionary Guards, said the missile had a range of 186 miles, cannot be tracked and can hit targets with high precision.

"Iran is mass-producing a smart ballistic missile for sea targets with a speed three times more than the speed of sound," state news agency IRNA quoted Jafari as saying about the new missile.

He didn't elaborate but footage of the test-launch on state television showed a missile being fired from a mobile launcher from a desert terrain.

The announcement of the new missile comes as Iran has celebrations to mark the 32nd anniversary of its Islamic revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

Jafari said the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps was also in the process of developing radar with a range of 310 miles. He said longer-range radar would be produced beginning March 21.

Military officials said the projects constituted a "long leap" in maintaining the security of Iran.

The announcements sound a day after the chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard warned it would close the Strait of Hormuz if Iran were to be threatened.

Experts estimate about 40 percent of all oil shipments transit the strait, which is basically the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The announcement also follows Iran's unveiling of new satellites, which it said were domestically engineered and manufactured.

Details of that project are also scarce but should the Islamic republic proceed with its deployment in space it will signal substantial improvement in its missile guidance capability.

Tehran has tried to allay concerns, saying that the project remains on a scientific level.

"Every now and then they get the idea of testing new missiles," said Ali Nourizadeh of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies. "Once we discovered that they had used Photoshop to show seven missiles simultaneously."

It remained unclear whether military officials in the United States and Israel were dubious of Iran's announcement.

Meir Javedanfar, author of "The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran" was quoted by Fox News as saying that Iran's test-firing signaled that Tehran "takes the threats against its nuclear facilities seriously."

The United States and Israel haven't ruled out the option of military strikes against Iran to stop its nuclear program.

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