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Iran test-fires upgraded Shahab-3 missile


TEHRAN, July 9 (Mehr News Agency) - Iran test-fired nine long- and medium-range surface-to-surface missiles, including the upgraded version of the Shahab-3, in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday.

The tests came in response to threats by the United States and Israel, which have said they may strike Iran's nuclear sites if Tehran refuses to halt its uranium enrichment program.

The missiles included an upgraded version of the Shahab-3 missile, which officials have said could reach targets 2,000km away.

"The exercise is aimed at demonstrating Iran's might and perseverance against the enemies, who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with harsh rhetoric," Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Air Force Commander Hossein Salami said.

"We fire these missiles in honor of Iran to say that they are a small amount of Iran's military might.

Salami said, "We warn the enemies, who intend to threaten us with military exercises and empty psychological operations, that our hand will always be on the trigger and our missiles will always be ready to launch."

"The enemies need to know that Iran is scrutinizing their activities wherever they are."

According to Reuters, some U.S. facilities across the Persian Gulf are little more than 200km from Iran's coast, putting them in range of Iranian weaponry.

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if attacked. About 40 percent of globally traded oil moves through the Persian Gulf waterway.

Other surface-to-surface missiles tested by naval and air units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were the Zelzal and Fat'h, with respective ranges of 400km and 170km.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany last month offered Iran an updated package of proposals meant to end the West's prolonged standoff with the Islamic Republic.

The package, which follows an original proposal in 2006, offers nuclear cooperation and wider trade in exchange for a halt in Iran's uranium enrichment activities.

Iran has also presented its own package of proposals on ways to resolve international problems including the threat of nuclear proliferation.

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili last week said Iran has provided a "constructive and creative" response to a letter by the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany with a focus on common points between the two separate packages.

Iran has repeatedly ruled out suspension of enrichment as a precondition for negotiations and has said it will "only hold talks only on common points".

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