The United States should get the message that it should stop conducting maneuvers in the Gulf, an Iranian admiral said Friday after his navy had tested three new missiles.
Iranian state television broadcast footage of the Revolutionary Guards firing naval-warfare missiles with a range of about 170 kilometers (106 miles). It was the second day in a row that Iran had announced the development of missiles and their testing in its military maneuvers.
The tests and military exercises came only days after the US conducted naval maneuvers in the Gulf, and as the UN Security Council members wrangle over what steps to take against Iran for ignoring its call to cease uranium enrichment - an ingredient of nuclear bombs.
"Our enemies should keep their hostility out of the Persian Gulf," said Adm. Sardar Fadavi, the deputy chief of the Revolutionary Guards navy.
"They should not initiate any move that would make the region tense," Fadavi said in a clear reference to the United States. The admiral was speaking to state radio about the US-led maneuvers, that finished Monday and which Teheran branded "adventurist."
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Fadavi said the missiles tested Friday demonstrated Iran's naval capabilities, and had been "improved by our domestic technology" - implying they were based on missiles that Iran had acquired.
Iran is widely believed to have bought missile technology from North Korean. Its ballistic missile, the Shahab-3 - one of dozens of rockets fired Thursday - is thought to be based on North Korea's Nodong missile.
The US military said Friday it had taken note of Iran's missile tests.
"Countries throughout the region perform exercises on a regular basis, including Iran," said Capt. Gary Arasin at US Central Command in Florida. "It's something that we monitor."
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday, when Iran began its 10-day maneuvers, that the Iranians were "trying to demonstrate that they are tough."
"They are trying to say to the world 'you are not going to keep us from getting a nuclear weapon'," Rice told a Cincinnati radio. "The world has to say to them, yes, we will."
Iranian expert Andrew Hess, a professor of diplomacy at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, Boston, said the missile tests were part of a campaign by Iran to " assert its political power in the Gulf region."
"It's a continuation of their view that the Gulf region is a sphere of Persian influence, and it ought to be the predominant power in that area," Hess said.
Hess said the Arab states of the Gulf were likely to be concerned about Iran's growing military power, but they would not take a strong stand against the maneuvers for fear of increasing tension.
Iran routinely denies that its maneuvers are intended to intimidate neighboring states. The spokesman for the current war games, Gen. Ali Fazli, said Friday: "The maneuvers are not a threat to any neighboring country."
But the Gulf states have long been concerned about Iran, a Shiite Muslim country, stirring trouble in their own Shiite communities. In addition, the United Arab Emirates has a long running territorial dispute with Iran over some islands in the Gulf.
Iranian TV said the new naval missiles - named Noor, Kowsar, and Nasr - had a range 50 kilometers (30 miles) greater than its existing warship rockets.
Fadavi said the forces would also be testing some air-to-ground missiles during the maneuvers.