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Iran test anti-ship missile

04 August, 2008

TEHRAN: Iran said on Monday that it had successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile with a range of 300 kilometres (180 miles) that it had developed with homegrown technology so far unused by any other country.

"No enemy vessels would be able to escape it within a 300-kilometre radius from the borders of Iran," the commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said on state television.

"The weapon has been developed entirely using domestic technology and according to our information so far no country has used this technology before," Jafari said.

In the past Iran has often boasted of developing new weapons systems only to be met with scepticism from Western defence analysts.

Jafari said that Iran's arsenal meant it could easily close the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway through which much of the world's oil supplies pass on their way out of the Gulf.

"Given the length of Iran's coast in the Strait of Hormuz area and its special geographical position... Iran has a natural strategic advantage," the Fars news agency quoted the Guards commander as saying.

"And given the equipment our armed forces have, an indefinite blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would be very easy."

Washington has never ruled out a resort to military action over what it charges is Tehran's effort to develop a nuclear weapon.

Iran insists it wants to develop nuclear power for civilian purposes only in the knowledge that its huge oil and gas reserves will eventually run out.

It has warned of a dire response in the event that it comes under attack by the United States or its regional ally Israel.

End.

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