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Iran tests cruise missile, claims it can destroy targets 280 kilometers away

State media says test took place during naval exercise, the first Tehran has held since 19 soldiers were killed by friendly fire during drill in May

Illustrative: An Iranian warship fires a  missile, reported to be a Noor long-range anti-ship missile, in an exercise in the  southern waters of Iran, March 9, 2010. (AP Photo/IIPA, Ebrahim Norouzi)
Illustrative: An Iranian warship fires a missile, reported to be a Noor long-range anti-ship missile, in an exercise in the southern waters of Iran, March 9, 2010. (AP Photo/IIPA, Ebrahim Norouzi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran test-fired cruise missiles in a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman and northern Indian Ocean, state media reported Thursday.

The report by the official IRNA news agency said the missiles destroyed targets at a distance of 280 kilometers (170 miles). It said the tests came during a naval drill by Iran’s navy in the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.

It said the missiles’ range can be extended but gave no details.

The report was the first of a drill since May, when a missile fired during an Iranian training exercise mistakenly struck an Iranian naval vessel instead of its intended target in waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15 others.

It also comes after a tense naval encounter between Iranian and US forces in the nearby Persian Gulf.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels sail close to US military ships in the Persian Gulf near Kuwait, April 15, 2020. (US Navy via AP)

In April, the US accused Iran of conducting “dangerous and harassing” maneuvers near American warships in the northern Persian Gulf. Iran also was suspected of briefly seizing a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker before that.

Iran regularly holds exercises in the Gulf of Oman, which is close to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of the world’s oil trade passes.

The US has been actively campaigning to keep a United Nations arms embargo in place on Iran that is due to expire in November.

US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers two years ago, launching a maximum pressure campaign against Iran that has pushed the arch-rivals to the verge of conflict.

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