Iran test-fired dozens of missiles on Tuesday and renewed its threats to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil-shipping channel, in response to mounting economic sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.
The exercise included long-range missiles capable of hitting U.S. warships stationed in the Persian Gulf and even as far as Israel.
Iran says the exercise comes as the U.S. and Israel have refused to rule out possible military strikes against Tehran's nuclear facilities.
[Interview : Hossein Salami, Acting Commander
Iranian Revolutionary Guards ] "The purpose of the missile test is to show the entire world that Iran, an Islamic country, will protect its national interest and value.
The drill took place just as the latest round of talks between Iran and the six world powers -- the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- began in Istanbul on Tuesday, in an effort to keep diplomatic channels open after high-level negotiations were suspended last month in Moscow
The Iranian parliament has also developed a new bill to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for the E.U. oil embargo and fresh U.S. measures on Iranian banks, calling the sanctions "illogical and unfair."
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been quietly increasing the number of warships and fighter jets in the Persian Gulf, to counter potential Iranian military threats.
And with uncertainties surrounding the passageway for one-fifth of the world's oil, international crude prices shot up on Tuesday.
Benchmark U.S. crude spiked 4.7 percent,. to end at almost 88 U.S. dollars a barrel, the highest price since May 30th, while Brent crude surpassed 100 dollars for the first time in three weeks.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.