Thursday, January 5, 2012

Iran test-fires more missiles during navy drill

The launch of the missiles came one day after the Islamic republic test-fired an anti-radar, mid-range missile during the naval drills in its southern waters.

The home-made, coast-to-sea Qader (Mighty) missile fired on Monday could hit the target "successfully" and could destroy it, said the official IRNA news agency.

Deputy commander of Iran's Navy Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Mousavi was quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday that the ultra- advanced Qader missile has been upgraded in terms of its radar and satellite systems, as well as in its accuracy of hitting targets, its range, and smart radar-evading systems in comparison with its previous generations.

The surface-to-surface missile of Noor (Light) was also launched by the Iranian navy in the drills on Monday, Mousavi said, adding that the ultra-advanced Noor missile has also been upgraded in comparison with its previous generations, according to the state IRIB TV.

The older model of the Noor missile was test-fired from the domestically-manufactured destroyer Jamaran off the southern shores of the Persian Gulf in March 2010, the local satellite Press TV reported on Monsay.

Mousavi also said Iran fired a short-range missile of Nasr ( Victory) to the pre-determined targets on Monday, said IRIB.

The advanced Nasr missile which had already been test-fired on different vessels and for sea-to-sea targeting, on Monday was launched from a coastal launch pad to hit a naval target. The missile hit the target with 100 percent precision and destroyed it completely, said the local Fars news agency.

The smart Nasr missile is a good complement for Iran's coastal defense units which are equipped with various types of missile and artillery systems. Nasr can increase the Navy's targeting capabilities in any possible confrontation with those enemy vessels infiltrating the country's territorial waters, said the report.

Earlier this year, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced that the country's Navy equipped its new high-speed vessels named Zolfaqar with Nasr missiles capable of destroying three-ton weigh vessels.

On Monday, Mousavi said that some observers from the "friend and allied" countries of the Islamic republic are witnessing some operations of the Iranian navy during the drill. The report did not refer to the nationality of the foreign observers to the drill.

Iran began a 10-day naval drill in the Strait of Hormuz on Dec. 24 amid increased tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

The member of Iran's Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Esmaeil Kowsari said Monday that the recent navy maneuvers showed the country's might and power, Fars said.

Kowsari said that the wargames performed as a show of power to the non-regional forces in the region, adding that if the United States and its allies send hundreds of warships and nuclear-armed submarines to the region, they will not be able to impede Iran's progress.

Rapporteur of the Iran's Majlis ( parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazzem Jalali said Monday that Iran will block the Strait of Hormuz if its interests are threatened, Fars reported.

Iran will use all its capabilities and possibilities to defend the country against foreign threats and the country will use the Strait of Hormuz as a defensive tool and will close the waterway if it comes under threat, Jalali told Fars.

Jalali described the Strait of Hormuz as the world's strategic energy bottleneck, and said Iran does not like to close the strategic waterway and wants all countries to use it for transporting their energy needs, but in case Iran comes under threat, it will be obliged to use all its defensive tools.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense warned Iran against any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz which is one of the world's most important oil passage.

"This is not just an important issue for security and stability in the region, but is an economic lifeline for countries in the Gulf, including Iran," Pentagon press secretary George Little said. "Interference with the transit or passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated."

Little's remarks came after Iran's top officials threatened to seal off the important oil passage. Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said last week that Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz if the West imposes sanctions on its oil exports.

Following an International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran' s nuclear program in November, the United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions against Iran. Certain western countries have also said that they are considering sanctions against Iran's Central Bank and Iran's crude exports.