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Iran in missile training, says ready for enemy attack


TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards began a 10-day missile training exercise on Monday "to preserve its readiness against enemy strikes," a veiled reference to attacks the United States and Israel have refused to ruled out to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"The war games, dubbed 'Great Prophet 6', include the testing of short-, medium- and long-range missiles," Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the elite forces' aerospace unit, was quoted as saying by the Sharq daily.

The Islamic Republic, which is locked in a dispute with the West over its nuclear activities, regularly announces advances in its military capabilities in a bid to show its readiness for any attack by Israel or the United States.

Iran, which denies it is developing nuclear weapons, says it has a wide range of missiles, some capable of striking Israel and U.S. Middle East bases.

Hajizadeh said the exercise, to be carried out on land and at sea, was a "message of peace and friendship to countries of the region," adding that the war games were not threat to anyone.

Iran, a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim state, has said it would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests in the region and Israel, and could close the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic shipping lane by which about 40 percent of the world's traded oil leaves the Gulf region.

(Writing by Mitra Amiri; Editing by Jon Boyle)