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Iran Tests Naval Cruise Missile

Iran says it has successfully test-fired two long-range missiles during a naval exercise in the Gulf, flexing its military muscle to show it could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region if attacked.

(REUTERS) Tehran - In response to mounting Western pressure over its nuclear ambitions, Iran started a naval drill in the Gulf last week and warned that it could shut the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions were imposed on its oil exports, the country's main revenue source.

The 10 days of naval wargames and the warning over the Strait, a narrow Gulf shipping lane through which 40 percent of world oil passes, have rattled oil markets and pushed up crude prices.

Analysts say Iran's increasingly strident rhetoric is aimed at sending a message to the West that it should think twice about the economic cost of putting further pressure on Tehran.

"We have successfully test-fired long-range shore-to-sea and surface-to-surface missiles, called Qader (capable) and Nour (Light) today," Deputy Navy Commander Mahmoud Mousavi told state television.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Western Tanks To Ukraine Trigger Russian Threats — But Also Fears Of Major Counterattack

Germany and the U.S. overcame months of reluctance in the past 24 hours to commit to sending heavy combat tanks to Ukraine. Russia responded with official bluster, but others in Moscow fear that the tanks delivery could be a gamechanger on the battlefield.

Picture of recently mobilized Russian troops

Recently mobilized Russian troops getting ready to depart for service

Cameron Manley

A week of growing expectations of a coming Russian offensive was turned on its head Wednesday as Germany and the U.S. announced their intention to send heavy combat tanks to Ukraine.

The sudden show of resolve on supplying tanks — after months of reluctance, particularly from Germany — has prompted some Russians to fear that Ukraine will now be equipped for a major counterattack. That would be significant reversal after speculation had been growing this month about a Russian spring offensive.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government confirmed Wednesday morning that Berlin plans to send at least 14 German-built Leopard 2 tanks to the frontline. U.S. media also reported that Joe Biden’s administration is expected to officially announce Washington's commitment, with at least 30 M1 Abrams tanks expected to be sent.

The timeline remains unclear as to when the vehicles would make it into combat. Still, both sides on the war acknowledged that it is a significant development with the potential to change the math on the battlefield.

Official Russian response was loaded with typical incendiary rhetoric. Dmitry Peskov, press secretary to Russian president Vladimir Putin, said the new tanks would "burn like all the rest, only these ones are expensive.”

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