State television in Iran has announced the start of military manoeuvres including the launch of missiles able to carry cluster warheads. Iran says the operation which will last 10 days and include drills in the Gulf and the Sea of Oman amounts to a show of defensive strength. The commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards has said they would fire dozens of missiles including Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 types with cluster warheads. According to experts, the latter have a maximum range of some 2,000 kilometres, which means they could hit targets such as Israel or US military bases in the Gulf.
Washington accuses Tehran of planning to equip its missiles with nuclear warheads, which Iran denies. It claims its nuclear programme is needed to produce more electricity. The Revolutionary Guards already conducted war games in the Gulf in April, in what analysts saw as a thinly veiled threat that Iran could interrupt vital oil shipping lanes if it wanted to.