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Iran confirms missile tests

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Iranian officials say missiles test-fired Wednesday, one launched Thursday
  • NEW: One missile did not go off on Wednesday, the officials said
  • Senior U.S. military source disputes Iran's claim to have fired long-range missile
  • Rice: U.S. determined to prevent Iran from threatening its interests or those of allies
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(CNN) -- Iranian officials confirmed Saturday the nation test-fired missiles earlier in the week, although some experts have said their technological capability is not as great as Tehran claimed.

Seven short- to medium-range missiles were fired on Wednesday, the U.S. believes.

Seven short- to medium-range missiles were fired on Wednesday, the U.S. believes.

Two Iranian officials told CNN missiles were test-fired near the Persian Gulf on Wednesday. Another missile was launched Thursday, but that one did not go off on Wednesday, the officials said.

Some experts, however, have said the prowess of the missiles was not as great as Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed in Iranian media, which provided the first confirmation of the tests.

It is clear, however, that the missile testing was a signal -- a flexing of Iran's muscle as it negotiates regarding its nuclear program. It was also a message in response to any threat Iran perceives from Israel -- and, to a lesser extent, the United States.

Mojtaba Zolnoor, the Iranian Supreme Leader's representatives in the Revolutionary Guards Corps, was quoted Saturday by Iran's semi-official Fars news agency as saying that in response to an Israeli or a U.S. strike against Iran, "As its first response, Iran will attack the heart of Israel as well as 32 American bases."

"Right now, the armed forces are in the state of full readiness to confront any enemy threat," said Zolnoor, speaking in the Iranian city of Mashhad. "If, under an illusion, the enemies launch a military attack against our country, Iran's armed forces will give them a crushing answer."

After the missile tests, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States is determined to prevent Iran from threatening its interests and allies, including Israel. "We take very strongly our obligation to help our allies defend themselves, and no one should be confused about that," she said. Video Watch Rice comment on Iranian missiles »

And Israel said it "seeks neither conflict nor hostilities" with Iran, but that Tehran's ballistic missile program "must be of concern for the entire international community."

The missile tests come amid international tension regarding Iran's nuclear aspirations. They also follow an Israeli military exercise last month that was thought to be a message to Iran. World powers which have long suspected Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons have offered economic and other incentives to Tehran in exchange for the suspension of its enrichment program. Iran, which has maintained its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes, has defended its right to proceed with enrichment.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, will meet July 19 with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss possible talks on the issue. Iranian press reports have said the talks will focus on the proposals put forward by the group that has been leading the United Nations' dealings with Iran: Germany and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said this week his country is mulling the package of incentives, which it received in June.

Some European officials have speculated that Iran will enter talks on its nuclear program, but is attempting to play out the Bush administration in the United States.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.

All About IranNuclear ProliferationIsraelIraqIranian Revolutionary Guard CorpsSyria

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