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    Iranian missile tests 'warning to enemies'

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    Ongoing Iranian military exercises in the Persian Gulf are a warning for any nation considering an attack on the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commander said on Thursday.

    TEHRAN, July 10 (RIA Novosti) - Ongoing Iranian military exercises in the Persian Gulf are a warning for any nation considering an attack on the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commander said on Thursday.

    Iran test-fired a series of long and medium-range missiles in the Persian Gulf earlier on Thursday, a day after drawing international criticism for missile exercises in the Strait of Hormuz.

    "The maneuvers will bring power to the Islamic Republic and serve as a warning for its enemies," Mohammad Ali Jafari told reporters.

    The Israeli Air Force conducted military exercises involving over 100 Israeli fighters in early June. The exercises were widely seen as a 'dress rehearsal' for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

    The Iranian news channel Press TV said that, "The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps successfully test-fired various classes of missiles on Thursday including shore-to-sea, surface-to-surface and sea-to-air missiles in what is now the third day of large-scale military maneuvers called Great Prophet III."

    The U.S. secretary of state said on Thursday that Washington would defend Israel against any Iranian aggression.

    "We are sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and the interests of our allies," Condoleezza Rice said during a visit to Georgia.

    "We take very, very strongly our obligation to help our allies defend themselves and no one should be confused about that," she said.

    Rice also said that Wednesday's test firing by Iran of the Shahab-3 missile, with a range of 2000 km (1,240 miles), proved the need for a missile shield in Central Europe.

    U.S. missile shield plans for Central Europe, which Washington says are intended as defense against potential attacks by Iran and other 'rogue states,' have been criticized by Russia, which has said that Iran will not be able to develop missiles capable of hitting Europe in the foreseeable future.

    The range of the Shahab-3 enables Iran to strike at Israel, as well as U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf region.

    The United States has not ruled out a military strike against Iran if it refuses to halt its nuclear program, which Western countries believe is a cover for a weapons program. Iran says it needs the program to produce electricity.

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