Iran Denies Missile Launch But Ready To Talk
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1:57pm UK, Saturday December 31, 2011
Iran's senior navy commander has denied the country has already test-fired
long-range missiles during a drill - but said it would do so in the next few
It had been reported that the Islamic Republic had fired the weapons - which
are capable of carrying nuclear warheads - on Saturday.
But commander Mahmoud Mousavi rejected these claims, saying "the exercise of
launching missiles will be carried out in the coming days".
Iran is currently holding 10 days of large-scale naval war games in the Gulf
after threatening to close shipping lanes if the West imposes sanctions on its
Senior navy officers reportedly said ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and
surface-to-air missiles would be tested in the Gulf of Oman at the southern end
of the Persian Gulf.
Earlier this week, Tehran said it could stop traffic through the Strait of
Hormuz in the Gulf if it became the target of an oil export embargo over its
controversial nuclear programme.
An Iranian boat fires a missile during an
Meanwhile, Iran has proposed a new round of talks with six world powers about
the issue, the country's top nuclear negotiator said.
Saeed Jalili said he has formally called on the United States, Russia, China,
Britain, France and Germany to return to the negotiating table with Tehran.
Iran's ambassador to Germany Ali Reza Sheikh Attar said Mr Jalili was to send
a letter to EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to arrange a new round of
The European Union said it was open to meaningful talks with Tehran provided
there were no preconditions.
The last round of negotiations between Iran and the six powers in
January in Istanbul, Turkey, ended in failure.
Tehran says it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, but the West
fears Iran's nuclear programme is geared toward making atomic weapons.
Iran has been hit by foreign sanctions, including four rounds of UN
sanctions, over its refusal to halt its sensitive nuclear work.
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