Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Iran test fired nine long missiles Top News Jul 8

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- Iran test fired nine long- and medium-range missiles on Wednesday, state media said, including one which it has said could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

The tests occurred at a time of increased tension between Iran and Israel over Tehran's nuclear program, which the West fears is aimed at making bombs. Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, says its program is only for electricity.

A New York Times report in June said Israel had practiced an attack on Iranian nuclear sites, and the tension has rattled financial markets. U.S. and London Brent crude oil futures rose by more than a dollar on news of Iran firing the missiles.

"The aim of holding this maneuver is to show (Iran's) will and authority to the enemies that have threatened Iran with harsh language in recent weeks," state broadcaster IRIB quoted a Revolutionary Guards commander as saying.

"We ... launch these missiles in honor of Iran, to show that this is only a small part of Iran's capability and defensive power," said the commander, Hossein Salami.

Israel, believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has vowed to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb. The United States says it wants to resolve the dispute by diplomacy but has not ruled out military action.

"Israel does not threaten Iran, but the Iranian nuclear program combined with their aggressive ballistic missile program is a matter of grave concern." Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said after the tests.


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