TEHRAN, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Iran says it has successfully test-fired an anti-aircraft missile in the latest sign of its swelling show of military strength.
The semi-official Fars news agency said the Hawk surface-to-air missile system was tested near a nuclear site. The launch came ahead of talks Tehran has agreed to with world powers in connection with its controversial uranium enrichment program.
The news agency cited remarks by a senior military official who said that the test launch had been successful, hitting the assigned targets.
The commander said that the test was "aimed at assessing the level of preparedness of the defense systems deployed in the region to defend Iran's sensitive nuclear facilities," Fars reported.
"The test was aimed at reviewing the efficiency of these air defense systems, including missiles and radars, and enhancing the skills and knowledge of the personnel in technical and operational units," the senior military official was quoted saying.
The launch came as Tehran showcased a new naval cruise missile system.
Capable of spotting and destroying different targets at sea, the system has been designed and produced by local military engineers. The system, including launching pads, will be deployed along the country's coast, playing a key role in maintaining regional security and stability, officials have said.
Last month, also, the Iranian air force conducted tests of different anti-aircraft defense systems, including the anti-cruise Tor-M1 and S-200 anti-aircraft missile system.
In November, Iranian armed forces conducted the biggest ever nationwide air drills codenamed Defenders of the Sky of Vellayat III.
Iran's nuclear negotiator has indicated that if major world powers adopt "a logical and positive approach" in their upcoming talks with Iran, that "good results could be expected."
"We will enter talks with a positive view and we believe that the undeniable potentials of the Islamic Republic of Iran create a good opportunity for cooperation," the negotiator said recently in an interview with Turkey's TRT television.
Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will have talks Friday and Saturday on Istanbul on Iran's nuclear issue.
Washington and some of its allies, including Israel, suspect Iran's civil nuclear energy program is a cover for a secret effort to develop weapons. Iran, though, has repeatedly rebuffed the accusation saying it only wants to enrich uranium to the lower levels used in producing fuel for power plants.
Neither Israel nor the United States have ruled out striking at Iran to prevent it from acquiring what they suspect is nuclear capability.
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