TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Friday announced it has test fired a "new strategic weapon" in the final day of a large-scale naval and air defense drill, saying the system would play a key role in any future battle against the United States.
The claim was a new show of force by Iran just weeks ahead of a deadline for reaching a deal over its nuclear program with the U.S. and other global powers.
Iran announced the test on the final day of military drills it is calling "Great Prophet 9." The exercises are being held near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes.
Iran often holds live-fire war games and frequently boasts of advances in its weaponry that cannot be independently verified. The latest drill, which included a simulated attack on an American aircraft carrier, appears to be aimed at sending a message that Iran has no intention of backing down to the U.S. in the nuclear talks.
Adm. Ali Fadavi, the Republican Guard's naval chief, said the new weapon would be critical in any future naval war against the U.S.
"The new weapon will have a very decisive role in adding our naval power in confronting threats, particular by the Great Satan, the United States," he told the guard's website, sepahanews.com.
He did not elaborate, though state TV showed a short video of missiles being launched into the sky from under the water. Iran is known to have an advanced arsenal of missiles capable of striking as far away as Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.
The U.S. and world powers are in the final stages of talks that they hope will reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program. The international community suspect Iran is trying to develop a nuclear-weapons capability. Iran denies the charges, saying its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. The two sides hope to reach a framework agreement in the coming weeks and a final deal in June.
Since 1992, Iran has sought to become self-sufficient in its military needs, producing mortars, tanks, torpedoes, jet fighters and light submarines.