Iran’s TV interrupts broadcast to announce second batch of ballistic missile tests

Iran test-fired more long-range ballistic missiles in the Gulf Thursday, July 10, the day after its launch of 10 missiles including the Shehab-3, which is capable of delivering a one-ton payload over Tel Aviv. The second round was announced by Tehran state TV on Day Three of the Great Prophet war games.
debkafile‘s military sources report that the 20 missiles of assorted ranges tested so far (including the Fajar and Zelzal series) were put on show to convince the United States and Israel that Iran has enough missiles and launchers to keep on firing on consecutive days.
This was more posture than reality. In fact, only one 2,000-km range Shehab-3 was actually test-fired. However, accentuating the Gulf as the location of the second day’s tests, instead of an inland desert location like the first, raises the threat level. It was Tehran’s answer to the bland comments delivered Wednesday by US Assistant Secretary of State William Burns that Washington is not nearing a military confrontation with Iran and that Tehran’s response to the latest six-power incentives package makes it possible to keep diplomacy going.
Iran clearly prefers to continue talking from a position of strength and flexed military muscles.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Wednesday. “The Iranians should stop the development of ballistic missiles, which could be used as a delivery vehicle for a potential nuclear weapon, immediately.”
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged the US will defend its interests and its allies. The US has enhanced its security presence in the Gulf and “we take our obligations to help our allies defend themselves very seriously and no one should be confused about that.”
Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama said the missile tests showed the US needs to pursue direct and aggressive diplomacy backed by “tougher sanctions.” His rival Senator John McCain said the missile firings mean “Iran continues to threaten the security of their neighbors.” But he was sure that European allies are ready to impose financial and trade sanctions that “can be effective in modifying Iranian behavior.”

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