TEHRAN, Iran – The test-firing of three new models of sea missiles in the Gulf should send a strong message to the U.S. to cease military maneuvers in the zone, an Iranian navy chief said Friday.
"They should not initiate any move that would make the region tense," he said of the US.
The Iranian military chief was answering a question on Iran's state-run radio about whether the new Iranian maneuvers were a response to a U.S.-led military exercise in the zone earlier this week.
The two-day U.S.-led naval maneuvers that finished Monday focused on surveillance, with warships from six nation including the United States, Britain and France tracking a vessel suspected of carrying nuclear components or illegal weapons.
Iranian state television on Friday showed footage of Revolutionary Guards firing the missiles from mobile launching pads on the shore, and from warships.
Iranian forces have previously test-fired missiles in the crowed Gulf waters, but the new maneuvers, which began on Thursday, apeared to be geared at showing Iran's discontent that U.S. and western warships had held an exercise so close to its territorial waters.
"The maneuvers are not a threat to any neighboring country," said Gen. Ali Fazli, the spokesman for the Iranian war-games.
Iran nonetheless insisted the new sea missiles enhanced its military muscle in the Gulf, where most of the world's oil is extracted. The weapons are "suitable for covering all the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian gulf and the sea of Oman" said Fadavi, the deputy navy chief.
Some 20 percent of the world's oil supply passes every day through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The three new types of missiles, named Noor, Kowsar, and Nasr, have a range of about 106 miles and were built for naval warfare, TV reported. Iranian sea missiles previously had a range of 75 miles, TV quoted Fadavi as saying.
The new tests demonstrate Iran's military capacities at sea, the admiral said.