The test exercise, entitled "Great Prophet
III" by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, should be seen as a "lesson
for adversaries," Iran's Press TV quoted IRGC Major Gen. Mohammad-Ali
Jafari as saying.
Iran's missile tests in recent days have
been a reaction to recent military threats from Israel and the United States,
the Iranian press reported.
Rice, traveling in Georgia, told reporters Thursday morning the U.S. is
"sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and the
interests of our allies."
"We take very seriously the obligation to defend our allies and we intend
to do that," Rice added.
The Iranian armed forces reportedly tested a variety of missiles over the last three
days, including the 1,250-mile-range Shahab-3 as well as "shore-to-sea,
surface-to-surface and sea-to-air missiles," according to Press TV.
The missiles were tested over the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, a
waterway that carries about 40 percent of the world's oil supply. Iran has
threatened to shut down the Strait, an action that U.S. military officials said
would be "viewed as an act of war," the Associated Press reported.
Israeli nuclear experts, however, were less convinced of Iran's threat. Uzi
Rubin, former head of Israel's "Arrow" missile program, said "without
being hasty, I note that the Iranians have a tendency to exaggerate to a
certain extent the capabilities of their missiles," the Israeli press
"From what I saw, this is an old version of the Shahab-3, and contrary to their
claims, it is not capable of reaching 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), only
1,300 (808 miles)," Rubin said.
Fueling the rumors that Iran might be exaggerating its abilities are reports
that an image released by Sepah News, the IRGC's media arm, included was digitally
altered to duplicate one missile's trajectory. In the image, four missiles are
shown, but a copy of the image obtained by the Associated Press shows the exact
same moment with only three missiles, according to the New York Times.
Despite claims from Iran that nine missiles were test-fired Wednesday, Pentagon
tracking systems only detected seven, the AP said.