TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran Monday tested missiles near the Strait of Hormuz, underlining its threats to close the vital oil-transit waterway as the West prepares to impose more economic sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear drive. The launch of two missiles took place on the final day of war games in waters east of the strait at the entrance to the Gulf, a navy spokesman, Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi, was quoted as saying by official media. Another missile was also to be tested Monday, he said.

On Sunday, a medium-range surface-to-air missile was also test-fired during the exercises, according to Mousavi.

The show of military muscle was designed to show Iran’s ability to close the Strait of Hormuz - through which 20 percent of the world’s oil flows - if it chooses.

Iranian political and military officials insist they could take that drastic step if the West imposes more sanctions, on top of others that have already taken their toll on Iran’s oil-dependent economy. Mousavi said a Qader ground-to-ship cruise missile and a shorter-range Nasr surface-to-surface missile were launched in the tests.

The Qader cruise missile “built by Iranian experts successfully hit its target and destroyed it,” Mousavi was quoted as saying by the IRNA news agency.

He said it was “the first time” a Qader missile had been tested.

Hours later a Nasr missile “was also fired from a vessel in the sea today,” he told state television, adding that its test, too, was successful.

The Qader missile is said to have a range of 200 kilometres, which is generally considered medium-range or even short-range for a cruise missile, even though IRNA described it as “long-range.”

The Nasr is based on a Chinese design, as is the other missile to be tested Monday, the Nour. The Nasr has a range of 35 kilometres while the Nour missile has a range of 200 kilometres.