Iran tests its missiles during military exercise conducted by the Revolutionary Guards
The Iranian authorities claimed that a number of indigenously developed missiles, including the Shahab, Fateh, Qiyam and Zelzal were successfully test launched during the drills.
The Republican Guards had kick-started the military exercise this Sunday. The drills are likely to go on for a total of three days, ending today. The exercise was conducted even as the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iran earlier this month, which seems to have infuriated the Iranians. The Americans were unhappy over the lack of co-operation shown by the Iranian authorities over the country’s nuclear facilities.
The Iranian Al-Alam television network reported that the indigenously developed Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM), Shahab-3 was among those tested yesterday. The missile is believed to be capable of striking targets as much as 2,000 kilometres away, which means that all the major cities in Israel are within its range. Two of the Iranian Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), the Shahab-1 and the Shahab-2 were also tested yesterday.
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a high ranking official from the Revolutionary Guards confirmed the test launch of Shahab-3, but said that although the missile is capable of targeting facilities which are 2,000 kilometres away, the version which was used for the test launch was limited to 1,300 kilometres range. The testing of Shahab-3 is especially significant for the US and its allies, as recently the NATO had named the missile (along with a few other Iranian variants such as the Sejjil) as the main target of the proposed European missile defence shield.
Tension has been mounting in the Middle-eastern region for the last many weeks, especially after a Turkish fighter jet was shot down by the Syrian air defence systems. Syria is considered to be one of the closest allies of Iran in the region. Also, there are tensions prevailing after the US tightened its oil embargo on Iran, directly affecting the Iranian crude exports. Iranian parliamentarians are considering a complete close-down of the Strait of Hormuz as a response to the US embargo. The move is likely to affect the transport of millions of tonnes of crude oil, which passes through the Strait every day.