Iran test-fires the Shahab 3 missile, codenamed Great Prophet-6, during military exercises in June 2011 [EPA]

Iran says it test-fired two long-range missiles into the Indian Ocean earlier this year, the first time it has fired missiles into that sea, according to state television.

"In the month of Bahman (January 21-February 19) two missiles with a range of 1,900km were fired from Semnan province [in northern Iran] into the mouth of the Indian Ocean," Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division, told a news conference on Saturday.

Iran usually tests its missiles in extensive deserts in the heart of the country, so the firing into the Indian Ocean is an unusual move, aimed to prove Tehran's longstanding claims it can hit targets beyond its borders.

Television showed a missile being fired but the announcer did not specify if the pictures were of the Indian Ocean test-firing. No pictures were shown of a target being hit at sea.

The announcement came after a 10-day military exercise by the elite guards that was intended to deter Iran's enemies by showing the country is ready and able to hit back at US bases in the Middle East and at Israel.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military strikes on Iran if necessary to stop it getting nuclear weapons.

Iran says it has homemade missiles with a range of 2,000km, designed specifically to hit US and Israeli interests. But it denies it is seeking nuclear bombs and the means to deliver them.

Analysts have often doubted Iran's claims of technological progress in its defence industry which is under tight international sanctions.

Hajizadeh said US spy planes were operating in the area where the missiles hit. "It is interesting that they did not publicise it," he said.

Source: Agencies