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News Wrap: Iran Test-Fires Missile as Part of Strait of Hormuz War Games

January 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT

HARI SREENIVASAN: Iran test-fired an improved cruise missile today, adding to tensions with the U.S., Europe and Israel. The missile test was part of the war games that have focused on the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz.

We have a report narrated by Alex Thomson of Independent Television News.

ALEX THOMSON: By air, land and sea, Iran’s ten-day naval exercise carefully captured on state television. They say their new Qader and newer missiles with the range of around 160 miles can evade radar. They were test-fired in the Persian Gulf close to the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran is threatening to shut, as it often does.

HABIBULAH SAYARI, Iranian Navy Commander (through translator): The Strait of Hormuz is in opposition. Security of the strait is in our control. And the strait is in our total control.

ALEX THOMSON: In truth, closing the strait would likely hurt Iran as much as world oil markets. And such threats are almost routine from Tehran.

Washington’s immediately said it won’t tolerate Iran shutting the strait, through which up to a third of the world’s tanker traffic passes, 15 million barrels of crude every day.

Today, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said Iran shutting the strait was unlikely.

EHUD BARAK, Israeli defense minister (through translator): I doubt Iran can allow itself to seriously consider the closing of the Strait of Hormuz, even in a scenario of tougher sanctions being imposed on it. This will outrage the world and direct the world’s active resistance towards it.

ALEX THOMSON: The E.U. now says it could go even further, with sanctions on Iranian oil exports, the world’s fourth largest producer, all of which is why Tehran has also made sure it’s TV news reported claims that it’s produced and tested nuclear fuel rods. It insists its nuclear program is peaceful, whatever the reality.

HARI SREENIVASAN: On Saturday, Iran proposed a new round of talks on its nuclear program. At the same time, President Obama signed new sanctions aimed indirectly at hindering Iran’s oil exports. They take effect in six months.

The 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade filled the streets of Pasadena, Calif. today, a day later than usual because New Year’s fell on a Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the route to watch dozens of floral floats and marching bands. Security was tighter this year as Occupy the Rose Parade protesters marched the same route after the parade ended.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.