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Originally published Monday, November 12, 2012 at 5:23 AM

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Iran says it's tested new air defense system

Iran says it has successfully tested a new air defense system modeled after the U.S. Hawk system during a drill under way in the eastern half of the country.

The Associated Press

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TEHRAN, Iran —

Iran says it has successfully tested a new air defense system modeled after the U.S. Hawk system during a drill under way in the eastern half of the country.

Air defense chief Gen. Farzad Esmaili says the maneuvers are a "strong slap" to countries that "threaten" Iran - a reference to America and Israel.

Both Israel and the U.S. have not ruled out a military option against Iran's suspect nuclear program, which the West fears intends to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

State TV on Tuesday broadcast footage said to be from the military drill, showing a Hawk missile being launched and hitting a mock aircraft.

Earlier reports said the new surface-to-air system is named "Mersad," or Ambush.

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