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Iran Test-Fires New Missile From Warship

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran's military test-fired a new surface-to-surface missile from a warship as part of exercises along a strategic shipping route, state media have reported.

Iran launched six days of naval war games on December 2 in the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf region amid tension with the United States and Israel, which have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end a row over Tehran's nuclear work.

Iran has said that, if pushed, it could close the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the gulf and through which about 40 percent of the world's traded oil passes.

"The surface-to-surface Nasr-2 missile was tested in the [Sea of] Oman operational region," state radio reported, adding that the test took place on December 6.

"The Nasr-2 was fired from a warship and hit its target at a distance of 30 kilometers and destroyed it," the official news agency IRNA said, adding it was the first test of the new, medium-range missile.

The West accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear warheads, a charge Tehran denies. It insists that it wants to master nuclear technology to generate electricity so that it can export more of its huge oil and gas reserves.

Washington, which has its Fifth Fleet based in the Gulf Arab state of Bahrain, has pledged to keep shipping lanes open. Experts say Iran's navy would be no match for U.S. technology but could still create havoc in the waterway.