Iran Denies Gulf Missile Tests
Iran’s senior navy commander is denying state media reports that the Islamic republic has test-fired long-range missiles during a naval drill.
Mahmoud Mousavi told Iran’s English-language Press TV that “the exercise of launching missiles will be carried out in the coming days.”
The semi-official Fars news agency, Press TV and the state-run IRNA news agency had earlier reported that Iran had test-fired long-range and other missiles during an exercise in the Gulf on December 31.
Iran’s naval forces have been conducting war games in the strategic Strait of Hormuz over the past week.
More than one-third of the world’s tanker oil is reported to pass through the narrow Strait.
The United States has deployed naval forces around the Persian Gulf to ensure it remains open to shipping.
EU Open To Iran Talks
Meanwhile, in related news, the European Union says it is open to meaningful nuclear talks with Tehran provided there are no preconditions on the Iranian side.
EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann made the statement to Reuters on December 31 in response to a report by Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency earlier the same day.
The report quoted a senior official as saying that Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili will soon write to the EU’s foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to express Tehran’s readiness for fresh nuclear talks with major powers.
Talks have been frozen amid tensions between Iran and Western nations over Iran’s nuclear program.
A number of Western governments have accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons; a charge Tehran denies.
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