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Iran Sends Warships to International Waters

Iranian media say Iran has sent six warships to international waters, including the Gulf of Aden, just days after it test-fired a new ballistic missile.

Iranian news agencies and newspapers quote Iran's navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, as announcing the deployment.

He says the move shows Iran's ability to deal with foreign threats.

On May 14, Iran said it sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden to protect its vessels in the region from pirate attacks. It is unclear if those two were part of the six announced by Admiral Sayyari.

In November, an Iranian-chartered vessel was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden before being released in January. Iran delivers crude oil through the Strait of Hormuz - the waterway through which about 40 percent of the world's oil supplies are shipped.

Iran has threatened to block the Strait if it is attacked over its nuclear program.

Iran is one of the world's biggest oil producers.

About a week ago, Tehran tested a medium-range ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel, southeastern Europe and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The solid-fuel surface-to-surface missile is a new version of the Sejil that Iran said it had successfully tested in November.

The White House says Iran's missile program is of great concern to U.S. President Barack Obama, who is trying to engage Tehran.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of working to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is to produce electricity.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.