Iran rattles its sabre amid threats of oil blockade

Iran test-fired a new long-range missile on Monday during the last day of naval exercises in the Gulf, a naval commander said, following its threat to halt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.

The test of the Ghader ground-to-ship cruise missile was successful, the official news agency IRNA quoted a navy spokesperson as saying.

“This missile built by Iranian experts successfully hit its target and destroyed it,” Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi said.

He said it was “the first time” a Ghader missile had been tested.

Iran has been holding the 10-day naval exercise at a time of increased tension with Western powers over its nuclear programme.

Tehran threatened last week to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if it became the target of an oil embargo over its nuclear ambitions. The European Union has said it is considering a ban — already in place in the United States — on imports of Iranian crude.

The US Fifth Fleet said it would not allow any disruption of traffic in the vital oil shipping route.

The United States and Israel say they have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to resolve a dispute over the nuclear programme, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West believes is a cover for trying to build atomic bombs.

Iran has long-range missile systems, which could reach Israel and US bases in the Middle East. — Reuters