IRGC tests naval weapon; Reports: Israel builds up its strike capabilities; Larijani condemns government’s policies
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  • Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad-Ali Ja'fari stated that they had tested a naval weapon that could destroy any vessel in a range of 300 km (190 miles). Reports noted that the announcement would stoke tensions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme after it failed to meet an informal deadline to respond to a package of incentives offered by six world powers. US forces were currently stationed in several countries around the Gulf, including in Bahrain where the US Navy’s Fifth
    Fleet was based. Iran has contented that US forces were in range of its weapons and has threatened to impose controls on shipping in the Gulf if it was attacked militarily1.

    Reports also noted that Israel was building up its strike capabilities amidst growing anxieties over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Tel Aviv had recently purchased 90 F-16I fighter planes that can carry enough fuel to reach Iran, and would receive 11 more by the end of 2009. It had also bought two new Dolphin submarines from Germany reportedly capable of firing nuclear-armed warheads. It already possesses three Dolphin submarines. However, recent developments indicate that Washington may be moving away from a military option. These included a proposal to open a low-level US diplomatic office in Teheran and the decision to allow a senior US diplomat to participate alongside Iran in international talks in Geneva2.

    Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani meanwhile called on the government to tackle the rising inflation. President Ahmadinejad has recently faced mounting criticism for his economic policies which have pushed inflation over 26 percent. Larijani also asserted that the West was not troubled by Iran’s nuclear program but by the power that Tehran exercised in the Middle East3.