Iran tests improved Shahab-3 missile

Revolutionary Guards: Exercise shows "resolve and might against enemies who have threatened Iran."

shahab 3 missile 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
shahab 3 missile 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards test-fired nine long and medium range missiles Wednesday during war games officials say are in response to US and Israeli threats, the state-run Press TV reported. Gen. Hossein Salami, the Guards' naval commander, was quoted as saying the exercise, dubbed 'The Great Prophet 3,' would "demonstrate our resolve and might against enemies who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with harsh language." "Our fingers are always on the trigger and our missiles are ready for launch," the official IRNA news agency quoted Salami as saying. Wednesday's war games were being conducted at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway where about 40 percent of the world's oil passes through. Press TV said the missiles fired included a new version of the Shahab-3 missile, which Iranian officials say has a range of 2,000 kilometers, as well as improved Zelzal and Fateh missiles. A White House spokesman called Wednesday's tests "completely inconsistent with Iran's obligations to the world." "The Iranian regime only furthers the isolation of the Iranian people from the international community when it engages in this sort of activity," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the National Security Council. "They should also refrain from further missile tests if they truly seek to gain the trust of the world," he added, speaking from Japan where US President George W. Bush is attending the Group of Eight summit. The tests were conducted on the second day of the military exercise, which was announced on the Guards' web site late Monday. According to the announcement, the drill involved "missile squads." The Revolutionary Guards and Iranian army hold regular exercises two or three times a year, but the statement did not specify whether or not this drill was a special exercise. The Revolutionary Guards Web site quoted official Ali Shirazi as saying that Tel Aviv and US warships in the Gulf would be among the first targets if Iran comes under attack. "The Zionist regime is pushing the White House to prepare for a military strike on Iran," Shirazi was quoted as saying. "If they show such stupidity, Tel Aviv and the US naval fleet in the Persian Gulf will be the first targets which will be set on fire in Iran's crushing response." "The first shot fired by the US on Iran" would put US vital interests in the world at risk, said Shirazi, according to the Web site.