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State media: Iran test fires cruise missile in naval drill

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TEHRAN (AP): Iran test fired cruise missiles in a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman and northern Indian Ocean, state media reported on Thursday.

The report by the official IRNA news agency said the missiles destroyed targets at a distance of 280 kilometers (170 miles). It said the tests came during a naval drill by Iran's navy in the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.

It said the missiles' range can be extended but gave no details.

The report was the first of a drill since May, when a missile fired during an Iranian training exercise mistakenly struck an Iranian naval vessel instead of its intended target in waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15 others.

It also comes after a tense naval encounter between Iranian and U.S. forces in the nearby Persian Gulf.

In April, the US accused Iran of conducting dangerous and harassing maneuvers near American warships in the northern Persian Gulf. Iran also was suspected of briefly seizing a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker before that.

Iran regularly holds exercises in the Gulf of Oman, which is close to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of the world's oil trade passes.

The US has been actively campaigning to keep a United Nations arms embargo in place on Iran that is due to expire in November.

President Donald Trump withdrew the US from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers two years ago, launching a maximum pressure campaign against Iran that has pushed the archrivals to the verge of conflict.

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