Iran tests more missiles as war games continue

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Iranian Great Prophet III war games exercise has continued into a second day, with several more missile and weapons tests being conducted, including the second long-range Shahab-3 missile launch in as many days. Nine missiles were launched yesterday as part of the exercise, attracting international criticism. It is unclear how many further tests have occurred today, but they are reported to have included at least one more long-range Shahab-3, and an anti-submarine Hoot torpedo. Some of the missiles are believed to have been launched from ships, as part of a series of naval manoeuvres.

The Iranians have been under international pressure to withdraw from their plans of achieving nuclear proficiency, but have rejected putting a hold on their programme and have also been moving forward with their rocketry programme.

The 'war games' have been seen by many other countries as a show of force against the possibility of an Israeli or American attack on facilities related to Iran's nuclear energy programme, seen as a risk for the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction within the unstable Middle East. Some of the naval manoeuvres have also been seen as a response to a statement by the US government that any attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz would be considered an act of war.

Meanwhile, China and Japan have joined the list of countries criticising the military exercises. China's foreign ministry issued a statement expressing "concern about these developments", whilst Japan's cabinet secretary claimed that the exercise "puts regional peace and stability at a disadvantage".

According to Alex Siu, of Taifook Securities in Hong Kong, crude oil and gold prices rose in response to the tests. "Iran's missile test has raised worries on the safety of Israel," he said to the Xinhua News Agency.

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