TEHRAN - Iran, which has been carrying out war games in the Strait of Hormuz over the past week, is to test fire shorter- and longer-range missiles in the key oil waterway on Dec. 31, the navy said.
"Shorter- and longer-range, ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles will be tested on Saturday," the ISNA news agency quoted navy spokesman Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi on Dec. 30.
The move is likely to stoke tensions between Tehran and Washington,already running highover a warning by Iran this week that "not a drop of oil" would pass through the strait if Western governments followed through with planned additional sanctions over its nuclear program.
The U.S. State Department said Dec. 29 that Iran's threat to close the waterway, through which more than a third of the world's tanker-borne oil passes, exhibited "irrational behavior" and "will not be tolerated."
The naval maneuvers launched by Iran in the strait on Dec. 24 have so far included mine-laying and the use of aerial drones, according to Iranian media.
Analysts and oil market traders have been watching developments in and around the Strait of Hormuz carefully, fearing that the intensifying war of words between arch foes Tehran and Washington could spark open confrontation.