Iran tests fires longer range missile as part of new manuveurs

Iranian state-run televison said Thursday the country had test-fired dozen of missiles, including the long-range Shahab-3, during the first hours of new military maneuvers.

The report said the elite Revolutionary Guards also had launched several kinds of short-range missiles in a central desert area of Iran.

The newscaster did not elaborate about where the maneuvers were located. But earlier Wednesday, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, said the 10-day maneuvers, named "Great Prophet," would take place in the Gulf, the Sea of Oman and several provinces of the country.

The Shahab-3 missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and is believed to have a range of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles). It can reach Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Safavi said the war games are aimed at demonstrating the deterrent power of the Guards against possible threats.

He stressed the drills were not a threat to neighboring countries, but his announcement came two days after U.S.-led warships finished a two-day maneuver in the Gulf an exercise that Iran described as "adventurist."

The state-run TV said that among the other weapons tested during the maneuvers was the Shahab-2, which Iran says has a cluster warhead that can send 1,400 bomblets at the same time. Solid-fuel Zalzal missiles also were launched, as were guided missiles as well as Scud-B, Zolfaghar-73 and Z-3, it said.

Iran has said that the U.S.-led six-nation drills this week in the region would not improve security in the Gulf waters, through which about 20 percent of the world's oil passes. It also called on Gulf nations to set up their own regional security arrangements, reports AP.

The U.S.-led maneuvers focused on surveillance, with warships tracking a ship suspected of carrying components of illegal weapons. The nations that took part were Australia, Bahrain, Britain, France, Italy and the United States.

Iran regularly holds large maneuvers, often using them to test weapons developed by its arms industry.

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