Iran expects to equip Gulf ships with missiles soon

June 29, 2012, Friday/ 18:52:00/ REUTERS

Iran expects to equip its ships in the Strait of Hormuz soon with shorter-range missiles, a Revolutionary Guards commander was quoted as saying, in the latest apparent warning to the West not to attack it over its disputed nuclear program.

The Islamic Republic has threatened to shut the Strait, the conduit out of the Gulf for 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil trade, if Western sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear works block its own crude exports.

The European Union plans to impose a total embargo on Iranian oil from Sunday and has told Tehran that more punitive steps could follow if it keeps defying UN demands for limits nuclear activity that could be of use in developing bombs.

“We have already equipped our vessels with missiles with a range of 220 kilometers (136 miles) and we hope to introduce missiles with a range of over 300 kilometers (186 miles) soon,” Ali Fadavi said, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Friday. “We could target from our shores all areas in the Persian Gulf region, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.”

Iran is about 225 kilometers  (140 miles) at its nearest point from Bahrain, where the US Fifth Fleet is based, and about 1,000 kilometers  (625 miles) from its arch-enemy Israel.

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