A new medium-range missile is fired from a naval ship during Velayat-90 war game on Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran January 1, 2012. (Image: Reuters)
The Islamic Republic announced the ‘Great Prophet 7’ missile exercise on Sunday after a European embargo against Iranian crude oil purchases took full effect following another fruitless round of big power talks with Tehran.
Iran’s official English-language Press TV said the Shahab 3 missile with a range of 1,300 km - able to reach Israel - was tested along with the shorter-range Shahab 1 and 2.
Iran denies Western accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons capability. The world’s No. 5 oil exporter maintains that it is enriching uranium only to generate more energy for a rapidly growing population.
Iran has previously threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which more than a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes, in response to increasingly harsh sanctions by the United States and its allies intended to force it to curb its nuclear research programme.
Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme continued in Istanbul on Tuesday with a meeting of technical experts from Iran and six world powers.
The discussions follow a round of political talks in Moscow last month at which the sides failed to bridge differences or agree on a further round of talks at that level.
The experts have no mandate to strike agreements but the six powers - the United States, China, Britain, Germany, France and Russia - hope that by clarifying technical aspects of Tehran’s work they can open way for more negotiations in the future.
As a priority, the powers want Iran to stop enriching uranium to levels close to weapons-grade, ship out any stockpile, and close a secret facility where such work is done.
Iran denies its programme has a military dimension and wants relief from economic sanctions before it makes any concessions.