YESTERDAY’S NEWS OUT of the Hormuz Strait, and the back and forth with the US, was that Iran was starting tests of its medium to long-range missiles as part of its 10-day naval exercise.
Why naval exercises had shifted to ballistic missile testing wasn’t so much discussed as how the move was raising tensions throughout the area.
Early Saturday, reports started coming out that Iran had launched its long-range missiles. Reuters reports via Fars ”Iran test-fired missiles including long range (missiles), surface to sea, … in the Persian Gulf” (via Huffington Post).
Shortly after the news, Russia’s RiaNovosti contradicted prior reports, saying “A high ranking official has denied the country test-launched a [long]-range missile … and said the launch was postponed.” The the BBC confirmed this shortly afterward.
No reason was given for the delay, but, never short on opinion, Debka File chimed in with their take. Calling it a “media trick,” Debka says Iran did exactly what it threatened to do earlier in the week, and effectively shut the Strait of Hormuz as “eas[ily] as drinking a glass of water.”
While Iran said it was launching its missiles, Debka points, “For five hours Saturday not a single warship, merchant vessel, or oil tanker ventured into the 30-mile wide Hormuz Strait, waiting to hear from Tehran that the test was over.”
Of course, the scratching of today’s test could be due to any number of legitimate problems, but it will be interesting to to see if Tehran goes ahead with the next launch.
- Robert Johnson