Iran's Revolutionary Guard 'test-fired anti-ship missile' during war drills

Iran's Revolutionary Guard 'test-fired anti-ship missile' during war drills
Tensions between Iran and the US have continued to heat up, as Washington accuses Tehran of test-firing a new missile.
2 min read
11 August, 2018
Iran has an extensive ballistic missile programme [Getty]

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces test-fired an anti-ship missile during last week's war drills in the Gulf, as tensions between the US and Iran heat up.

The US source told Reuters that the missile was fired during huge military exercises off Iran's coast, which Tehran said were launched to "[confront] possible threats", likely referring to the US.

The missile fired is believed to be a modified anti-shipping version of the Fateh 110 ballistic missile, which travelled 100 miles over the delicate Strait of Hormuz, before making impact on land in Iran.

Although the missile was fired inside Iranian territorial waters and not unusual during military exercises, Washington viewed it as a message to regarding the new sanctions it imposed on Tehran.

Washington said the imposition of new sanctions is in part due to Iran's continued programme of manufacturing and testing ballistic missiles.

Sunday's actions by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was thought to be the first time in a year that Iran has test-fired a ballistic missile.

The US was concerned by the drills, which were said to simulate the closing of the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping channel for oil.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the straits to shipping due to the new US sanctions, something that would likely trigger a war with Washington and Tehran's Arab neighbours if this happened.

"It's pretty clear to us that they [Iran] were trying to use that exercise to send a message to us that, as we approach the period for the sanctions here, they had some capabilities," Gen. Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, said this week.

The naval exercises involved at least 100 small boats, which would be capable of hitting the US' sizeable naval presence in the Gulf, if war broke out.

The US issued new sanctions on Iran this week, targeting exports such as carpets and cars.

A second set of tougher sanctions will be launched in November and target the country's oil industry and banking sector. 

Agencies contributed to this story.

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