updated 4/2/2006 11:52:14 AM ET 2006-04-02T15:52:14

Iran announced its second major missile test in a week, saying Sunday it has successfully fired a high-speed underwater missile capable of destroying huge warships and submarines.

The Iranian-made missile has a speed of 223 mph underwater, Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Navy of the elite Revolutionary Guards, said.

He called it the fastest underwater missile in the world—but it has the same speed as the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995 and believed to be the world’s fastest, three or four times faster than a torpedo.

It was not immediately known if the Iranian missile, which has not yet been named, was based on the Shkval, or if it can carry a nuclear warhead.

“It has a very powerful warhead designed to hit big submarines. Even if enemy warship sensors identify the missile, no warship can escape from this missile because of its high speed,” Fadavi told state-run television.

New military concerns arise
The new weapon could raise concerns over Iran’s naval power in the Gulf, where during the war with Iraq in the 1980s Iranian forces attacked oil tankers from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, prompting a massive U.S. naval operation to protect them.

Cmdr. Jeff Breslau of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said no special measures were taken by U.S. forces based on Bahrain in reaction to the Iranian war games, even after the latest missile test.

“They can conduct excercises whenever they want and they frequently do, just as we do. We conduct excercises throughout this region,” he told The Associated Press by telephone.

The missile test was conducted during the third day of large-scale military maneuvers by tens of thousands of the elite Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

On Friday, the first day of the war games, Iran test-fired the Fajr-3 missile, which can avoid radars and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads. The Guards said the test was successful.

The missile tests and war games coincide with increasing tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.

Iran’s show of force
More than 17,000 Revolutionary Guards forces are taking part in the weeklong maneuvers.

On Sunday, guards paratroops practiced a drop in an attack on a mock enemy position, and warships, jet fighters, helicopters and sophisticated electronic equipment were used in other exercises.

Iran, which views the United States as an arch foe and is concerned about the U.S. military presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, says the maneuvers aim to develop the Guards' defensive capabilities.

The United States and its allies believe Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran denies that, saying its program is for generating electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran halt its uranium enrichment activities. But Tehran said its activities are “not reversible.”

Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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