Iran denies missile test-fire reports in Gulf

Iran denies missile test-fire reports in Gulf Tehran: Iran's navy has denied test-firing a variety of long-range missiles in war games during military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, a spokesman said on Saturday.

Earlier, Fars news agency reported that Iran has test-fired missiles from land to sea during its ten day military exercises in international waters. Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi told state television in a live interview: "In the next days, we will test-fire all kinds of surface-to-sea, sea-to-sea and surface-to-air as well as shoulder-launched missiles."

The 10 days of navy exercises started December 24 and are due to end on Monday.

Twenty percent of the world's oil moves through the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance of the Gulf, making it the "most important chokepoint" globally, according to information released yesterday by the US Energy Information Administration.

Around 14 crude oil tankers per day pass through the narrow strait, carrying 17 million barrels. In all, 35 per cent of all seaborne oil transited through there this year.

Iran has said that "not a drop of oil" would pass through the strait if Western governments follow through with planned additional sanctions over its nuclear programme. Military chiefs have said it would be "really easy" for them to close the strait.

The United States had called the threats "irrational behaviour" and said closure of the strait "will not be tolerated."