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Iran Starts Production Of Short-Range Missile

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran launched production on March 7 of a short-range missile capable of destroying targets of 3,000 tons, official media reported.

Iran, embroiled in a row with the West over its nuclear program, often announces advances in its military capabilities in an apparent bid to show its readiness to counter any attack.

Neither Israel nor the United States have ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the dispute over atomic work the West fears is aimed at making bombs but which Tehran says is for peaceful power generation.

State radio said Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi inaugurated production of the Nasr-1 cruise missile, without saying where it took place.

"The Nasr-1 missile is able to destroy 3,000-ton targets," he said.

The official IRNA news agency said it was a surface-to-surface missile, but that it would in the near future also be capable of being fired from the air.