Iran test-fired its most advanced missiles Monday -- weapons that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Israel, U.S. bases in the Middle East and parts of Europe.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard successfully tested the Shahab-3 missile, which could carry a warhead with a range of 1,200 miles, Iranian-based English-language Press TV reported Monday morning. Iran tested medium and short-range missiles on Sunday.
The muscle-flexing followed last week's accusation by President Obama and European leaders that Tehran has been hiding a nuclear plant that Obama said is "inconsistent" with peaceful applications. Iran's state-run media said the tests were aimed at showing how it will counter potential attacks by the U.S. or Israel.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the tests show the need for a strong missile defense system. The Obama Administration recently scrapped plans to put missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, but said it is committed to a missile defense plan in the region.
"These were preplanned military exercises. I think - I would lump any of these into the provocative nature with which Iran has acted on the world stage for a number of years," Gibbs said.
The demonstrations came as six world powers, including the U.S., Russia and China, prepare to meet with Iran to discuss its nuclear program this week in Switzerland. Iran has offered wide-ranging security talks but says it will not discuss its nuclear "rights."
Obama last week warned of "sanctions that bite" if Iran continues what he called a pattern of evasion on its nuclear program.
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