Iran has successfully tested two long-range missiles over the Strait of Hormuz—a crucial point for oil commerce—in response to Obama's December 31 sanctions against Iran's central bank. What's worse: Iran claims they have created their first nuclear fuel rod.
For sure, those Iranians know how to start the year with a bang.
What missiles did they test?
Talking on Iranian state television, the Deputy Navy Commander Mahmoud Mousavi declared that they have successfully tested Qader and Nour.
Qader—Iranian for "Able"—is a long-range missile that can strike targets within a 200 kilometers (124 miles) radius from the point of launch. It flies at low altitude, so it can avoid detection. Apparently, Qader is highly destructive and it's capable of killing warships and inflicting great damage to United States Navy bases in the Persian Gulf region.
It is fully designed and built by the Iranian military. The missile was presented for the first time last August.
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Nour—Iranian for "Light"—is a long-range anti-ship missile also manufactured by Iran following the design of the Chinese C-802. It's also capable of reaching targets 200 kilometers away (124 miles).
Where did it happen?
The launches were part of a ten-day naval wargame designed to show Iran's capacity to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Forty percent of the world's oil passes through this strait on its way out of the Persian Gulf. Whoever controls this pass, would be able to inflict great damage to the world's economy.
The tests and naval maneuvers are a warning for the West not to sanction the country's oil exports. Following Obama's decision to ban imports of Iranian oil, the European Union is also considering a ban. The bans are designed to put pressure on Ahmadinejad and his cronies to stop their nuclear weapons program. They follow multiple sanctions by the United Nations' Security Council.
What's happening with Iran's nuclear program?
The bans and sanctions are not stopping their nuclear program. Iran claims that they have just produced their very first nuclear fuel rod. Like with the rest of their nuclear program, they say it's for "peaceful" research. This rod is now in use at the Tehran's atomic research reactor. The Iranian atomic energy agency says that this reactor is for "medical use."
Good luck in 2012, everyone. [Indian Defence, The Star, Bloomberg, El Mundo]