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Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 14:08 UK

Iran tests 'new anti-ship weapon'

Russian-made Iranian submarine
Iran did not say if the weapon was delivered from land or sea

Iran says it has tested a new advanced weapon to sink enemy ships.

The Revolutionary Guards commander said the weapon had a range of more than 300km (180 miles) and used technology never seen before.

The test comes two days after an international deadline passed for Iran to answer questions about its controversial nuclear programme.

The US said missing the deadline left the UN with no alternative other than to impose further sanctions on Iran.

Iranian officials said the country's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, has spoken by phone to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Mr Solana had given Iran until last Saturday to respond to an offer not to impose further sanctions against Iran in return for a freeze on its uranium enrichment programme.

Neither side has said whether Iran responded to the offer, or whether it made counter proposals.

Domestic technology

Revolutionary Guards commander Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari did not say where or when the new weapon was tested or what kind of technology it used.

"The weapon has been developed entirely using domestic technology and according to our information so far no country has used this technology before," Gen Jafari said.

"We can confidently say that none of the enemy's vessels or warships operating in a radius of more than 300km from Iran's borders will be safe from this weapon, and without a doubt, they will be sunk deep into the region's waters."

Correspondents say Iran often boasts about developing long-range weapons, while Western military experts often cast doubt upon the claims.

In July, the Revolutionary Guards tested missiles and torpedoes in the Gulf and claimed to have tested a new Shahab missile with a range of 2,012km (1,250 miles).

US and other Western officials described that round of weapons tests as "provocative" at a time of rising tension in the nuclear standoff.

Iran says its nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful. Israeli leaders have threatened to intervene militarily against Iran if it develops nuclear weapons technology, while the US has not ruled out the use of force.



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