TEHRAN Iran's Revolutionary Guards test-fired five missiles during war games in a waterway crucial for global oil supplies on Sunday, and a commander warned the Islamic Republic's enemies they would regret any attack.
Iran, which is locked in a dispute with the West over its nuclear program, often announces advances in its military capabilities and tests weaponry in an apparent bid to show its readiness for any strikes by Israel or the United States.
The Guards' exercises in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz coincided with rising tension between Iran and the West, which says Tehran's nuclear work is aimed at making bombs. Iran denies this.
Last week, the Pentagon said U.S. military action against Iran remained an option even as Washington pursues diplomacy and sanctions to halt the country's atomic activities.
Speaking on the drills' fourth day, Guards commander Massoud Jazayeri said Iran had a deterrence plan which would make the enemy "regretful" if they launched any attack against the country, the official IRNA news agency reported.
He also reiterated Iran's position that foreign forces in the region should leave, apparently referring to the presence of U.S. troops in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Those who came from (far away) to our region must leave, because we consider them as the enemy," he said.
Semi-official Fars News Agency said Guards' naval units fired five missiles at a target, without making clear if they were newly designed missiles.
"Despite the different places from which the missiles were fired , they all hit the target simultaneously and completely destroyed it," Fars said.
The missiles were surface-to-surface and surface-to-sea.
A second Guards commander, Brigadier General Ali Hajizadeh, said mass production of a new reconnaissance drone which was tested in the exercise would soon be launched, Fars reported.
On Thursday, Iranian media said the Guards successfully tested a new speedboat capable of destroying enemy ships.
The United States is pushing for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Tehran over its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear activities as demanded by the U.N. Security Council, including proposed moves against members of the Guards.
Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, has described Iran's nuclear program as a threat to its existence and has not ruled out military action.
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, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz. About 40 percent of the world's traded oil leaves the Gulf region through the strategic narrows.
(Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Louise Ireland)