Iran has test-fired a new long range sea-to-air missile just days before it faces a UN security council deadline to halt its nuclear energy programme. The firing of the missile is the latest show of strength from Tehran, which declared it was ready to face any threat. On Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated a plant to produce heavy water for use in a new research reactor.
The gestures are not in direct contravention of the international community’s ultimatum to halt uranium enrichment, but they are indicators of Iran’s defiant posture. On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency will report on Iran’s compliance with its demands – the United States has threatened to impose sanctions if the verdict is negative. Iran insists on its right to develop a nuclear programme which it says has no military purpose.