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Iran test fires new anti-ship missile

Iranian President says his country's decision to pursue nuclear technology is irreversible.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 07:50 IST

Iran tested a new anti-ship missile fired by a submarine during war games, raising worries it could disrupt vital oil tanker traffic in the Gulf amid its standoff with the West over its suspect nuclear activities.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took a tough tone over the nuclear issue, saying his country's decision to pursue nuclear technology was irreversible.

His comments and the missile test on Sunday came only days before a Thursday deadline imposed by the United Nations for Tehran to suspend the enrichment of uranium, a process the United States says the Iranians intend to use to build nuclear weapons.

Enrichment can produce both reactor fuel and material for a warhead. The Thaqeb, Farsi for Saturn, is Iran's first missile that is fired from underwater and flies above the surface to hit its target, distinguishing it from a torpedo. A brief video showed the missile exiting the water and hitting a target less than a mile (about a kilometer) away.

While the missile showed some technological advances by Iran, its main importance seemed to be that it gives the country another means for targeting ships, along with the arsenal of torpedoes and other anti-ship missiles it already has.

Iran, which says its nuclear program is only aimed at generating electricity, has refused any immediate suspension and called the deadline illegal, though it says it is open to negotiations. Ahmadinejad insisted Iran's nuclear program was peaceful and said he saw no reason to give it up.