(AP) — Iranian military leaders gave details of a new long-range drone and test fired four anti-ship missiles Tuesday in a prelude to upcoming naval war games planned in an apparent response to U.S.-led warship drills in the Persian Gulf.
The show of Iranian military readiness and its latest tool -- a domestically made drone capable of reaching Israel and most of the Middle East -- also came as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepared to address the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday amid a deepening impasse with the West over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad on Monday held open hope for renewed dialogue with the United States, but told reporters in New York that Iran was "fully ready" to defend itself from attacks. In Tehran, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, also warned that U.S. bases in the Gulf could face retaliatory strikes if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear sites.
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The West and its allies fear Iran's uranium enrichment program could lead to atomic weapons, but the U.S. and others favor a mix of sanctions and diplomacy to try to force Tehran to curb its nuclear program. Iran claims it only seeks nuclear power for energy and medical applications.
On Tuesday, Hajizadeh described the new drone as a key strategic additional to Iran's military capabilities with the ability to carry out reconnaissance missions or be armed with "bombs and missiles."