Iran tests missile that could 'sink a battleship'
Published 03/01/2012 | 05:00
IRAN'S military posturing in the Persian Gulf grew even stronger yesterday as it test-fired a cruise missile it claimed could sink a battleship with a single strike.
Ten days of naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most sensitive waterways, ended with a flourish following the launch of Tehran's latest surface-to-surface missile, known as the Qader, which is believed to have a range of 125 miles.
Two more missiles of shorter range were fired later in the day, following the testing of a medium-range surface-to-air missile on Sunday.
Western powers were swift to condemn the war games, with France describing them as a "very bad signal to the international community". The latest tests have been accompanied by increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Iran's leaders.
Mohammed Reza Rahimi, the vice-president, last week threatened to blockade the strait, the narrowest point of the Gulf, if the US and EU persisted with a plan to impose tougher sanctions.
With nearly a third of the world's tanker-borne oil supplies passing through the strait, such a move could cripple the global economy. Even the threat of a blockade caused energy prices to soar.
Despite the mounting international criticism, the Iranian regime remained unapologetic. Although military officials denied that a blockade was imminent, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the Iranian fleet, boasted that the exercises had sent an unmistakable message to the West about what could happen if Tehran's hand was forced.
Despite Tehran's rhetoric, President Barack Obama last week approved sanctions against the Iranian central bank, a step that will make it much harder for international refiners to buy crude oil. (© Daily Telegraph, London)