US Condemns Iranian Missile Tests
By VOA News
09 July 2008
The United States is condemning Iran's test of nine missiles, some of which Iranian officials say could reach Israel and other U.S. allies in the region.
Hossein Salami, a top Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, said Wednesday's exercise demonstrated Iran's resolve and strength against its "enemies."
The United States immediately urged Iran to refrain from further missile tests. A White House spokesman called Iran's development of ballistic missiles a "violation" of United Nations Security Council resolutions and "inconsistent" with Iran's obligations to the world.
The tests followed a strong warning from Iran on Tuesday against potential attacks over its nuclear activities. An aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel and the U.S. naval fleet in the Persian Gulf would be the first targets to be "set on fire" if Iran is attacked.
An Israel government spokesman denied today that Israel is a threat to Iran. But he said Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a matter of grave concern.
World powers are pressing Iran to stop enriching uranium, a process they suspect Iran will use to make nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, like generating electricity.
U.S. President George Bush has said he prefers diplomacy to resolve the nuclear standoff, but he has not ruled out military action.
Iranian television Wednesday showed images of six missiles firing simultaneously into the air from a desert launch site. The report said the missiles included a new version of the Shahab 3, which is said to have a range of 2,000 kilometers.
It is unclear whether the tests took place near the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran's Revolutionary Guards are holding military exercises.
About 40 percent of the world's oil passes through the strategic waterway. Iran has threatened to shut down traffic in the strait if it is attacked.
World oil prices jumped in reaction to the missile tests.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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