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Iran war games in Strait of Hormuz enter 'power phase'

The Iranian Navy's war games in the Strait of Hormuz have entered the "power phase," state media reported today, claiming that short- and long-range missiles would be test-launched this weekend.

Strait of hormuz 12 29 2011Enlarge
An Iranian Army soldier stands guard on a military speed boat during the 'Velayat-90' navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on Dec. 28, 2011. (ALI MOHAMMADI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Iranian Navy's war games in the Strait of Hormuz today entered what state media described as the "power phase."

The new phase will see the launch of a variety of short- and long-range sea-to-land missiles, Tehran's Press TV reported. It is said to be the third and most important stage of the 10-day naval exercises, which began last weekend.

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Other Iranian media said earlier that missiles had already been test-fired, according to the BBC, but Press TV quoted senior navy officials as saying that the launches would take place "in the coming days."

According to Fars news agency:

Different types of short and long-range coast-to-sea, surface-to-surface, surface-to-air missiles are going to be tested by Iranian vessels in this stage which will last until January 2.

Iranian submarines are also scheduled to launch smart torpedoes and Iranian naval forces will test-fire shoulder-launched missiles at this stage.

Iran's known missiles include the Shahab-3 strategic intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of up to 625 miles, the Ghadr-1 with an estimated 990-mile range and a Shahab-3 variant known as Sajjil-2 with a range of up to 1,490 miles, Reuters reported.

Today is the eighth day of the Strait of Hormuz naval exercises, which are "defensive in nature and intended to convey a message of peace and friendship to the countries in the region," according to Press TV.

Iran is keen to demonstrate its naval might, presumably to add weight to its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz – a key oil supply route – if the US imposes sanctions on Iranian exports of crude. Iranian commanders have also announced plans to station vessels in the Atlantic Ocean "near maritime borders of the United States," according to Fars.

Washington says it has "strongly warned" Tehran not to interfere with the passage of vessels through the strait.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/111231/iran-war-games-strait-hormuz-power-phase