In November, Iran test-fired dozens of missiles, including the Shahab-3 which can reach Israel, in exercises it said were aimed at putting a stop to the role of world powers in the Gulf region.

 

Resolution

 

"As our supreme leader said, no Iranian official has the right to back down on Iran's nuclear right"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Sunday's tests will be the first by Iran since the UN Security Council imposed limited sanctions on the country last month, banning the sale of materials and technology that could be used in nuclear and missile programmes.

 

But Iran is standing firm on its nuclear development. The Iranian president said on Sunday that UN resolutions will have no effect on Iran's nuclear policies.

 

"As our supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] said, no Iranian official has the right to back down on Iran's nuclear right."

 

The Security Council passed Resolution 1737 on December 23 imposing sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

 

On January 8, Khamenei rejected the UN resolution, vowing that the Islamic Republic would not back down in its nuclear drive.

 

Missile development

 

Last year, Iran tested an "ultra-horizon" missile, fired from helicopters and jet fighters, and the Fajr-3 missile, which can reportedly evade radar and use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.

 

US officials have suggested that Iran is exaggerating the capabilities of its newly developed weapons.

 

In December 2005, Israel successfully tested its Arrow missile defence system against a rocket similar to Iran's Shahab-3. The Arrow was developed jointly with the US.

 

The Zalzal missile is a solid fuel missile, and the Fajr-5 missile, meaning "dawn", is an artillery rocket developed by Iran early last year.

 

Iran has recently urged Arab Gulf nations to force the US military out of the region and join Iran in a new regional security alliance, an offer which has been mostly ignored by the Gulf states.