Iran test-fires missiles as tensions mount with West
13:56 27/09/2009 TEHRAN, September 27 (RIA Novosti) - Iran test-fired short-range missiles as its elite Revolutionary Guards began missile defense drills on Sunday aimed at bolstering the Islamic Republic's defense capabilities, official media reported.
The missile defense drills, dubbed the Great Prophet IV, are being held amid growing tension with the West over Iran's controversial nuclear program, after the Islamic Republic revealed last week that it was building a second uranium enrichment plant.
The English-language Press-TV reported that during the first day of the exercises the ground-to-ground Fateh-110 missile and the Tondar 69 naval missile were test-fired.
Revolutionary Guards Air Force chief Hossein Salami also told reporters that Iran had for the first time tested a multiple missile launcher during the drills.
The revelation by Iran that it was building a new underground uranium enrichment facility prompted condemnation from Western powers, which have long suspected Iran of pursuing a covert atomic weapons program. Iran says that its nuclear program is aimed at generating peaceful civilian energy.
Iran's nuclear chief said on Saturday that Tehran would allow the UN's nuclear watchdog to inspect the newly revealed plant. Ali Akbar Salehi told Iranian television the date for the visit had yet to be agreed on.
However, both the U.S. and Britain have refused to rule out military action against Iran over its nuclear program.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC earlier on Saturday that while London was "100% committed" to diplomacy, he could not rule out military action. His words came after U.S. President Barack Obama had said "We do not rule out any options when it comes to U.S. security interests."
Miliband also refused to speculate on whether Israel would launch an attack on the Islamic Republic, adding however that "no sane person" would want a military conflict with Iran.
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