independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Iran tests weapons across Hormuz

Iranian leaders in Tehran want a comprehensive weapons system

Iran has test-fired a range of weapons during military exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world's oil supply.

Its air defence system Raad, or Thunder, was among those tested, with torpedoes and underwater and surface-to-surface rockets as well as anti-ship missiles.

The Raad system was on show during a military parade in Tehran in September for the first time. Iran says it is more advanced than its Russian predecessor and is designed to confront fighter jets, cruise missiles, smart bombs, helicopters and drones. Iran said the system fires missiles with a range of 30 miles.

Tehran has tried to build a self-sufficient military programme since 1992. It frequently announces technological breakthroughs, most of which cannot be confirmed independently.

Iran's military leaders have recently said they believe future wars will be air- and sea-based and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defence systems and naval power in anticipation.

The drill began on Friday and ends on Wednesday, one of a number of exercises Iran holds annually.

The manoeuvres come as the West increases its pressure over Iran's nuclear programme. Iran has said it might close the strait over Western sanctions or military threats against its nuclear facilities, but has stepped back from those threats in recent months.

Both the United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear programme, which the West believes is aimed at weapons development.

Press Association

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