Iranian submarine in Strait of Hormuz 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer 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 has long-range missile systems including the Shahab-3, which could reach Israel and US 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.
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"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 on 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."
In related news, IDF Chief
of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Friday that the Iranian
threat can be neutralized if both Israel and the international community
take a responsible stance on the issue.
"Iran is working on a nuclear
program for its military. This warrants concern," Gantz said. "But the threat is not
only directed towards Israel. The countries in our immediate proximity,
and indeed beyond, are all at risk."
Speaking to a group of
high-school students in Be'er Tuvia near Kiryat Malachi, Gantz called
for adequate domestic and international preparation against the Iranian
nuclear threat, but refused to elaborate on the kind of measures he was