Iran ups the stakes with weapons test

IRAN announced yesterday it has tested a new weapon capable of sinking ships 300km away and reiterated threats to close a strategic waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf if attacked.

Up to 40% of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passage along Iran’s southern coast. Tehran has warned it could shut down tanker traffic there if attacked — a move likely to send oil prices skyrocketing.

The warnings came two days after a deadline expired for Iran to respond to incentives from six world powers, offered in exchange for a promise to curb its uranium enrichment.

Yesterday the US State Department said the group — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany — agreed to pursue further sanctions against Iran because of its failure to meet the deadline.

Iran and the West have been mired in a standoff over the country’s nuclear program. The UN has already slapped Iran with three rounds of sanctions over its refusal to stop enriching uranium.

Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari said the new marine weapon is “unique in the world” and has a range of 300km. That’s within range of US warships in the Persian Gulf.

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