The US and Israel have condemned Iran after it test-fired a long range missile capable of reaching Tel Aviv.And Russia reacts badly to a proposed US missile defense shield designated to protect the Czech Republic and Poland.
Iran state media said nine missiles had been fired in total, including a new Shahab-3, with a range of 2,000km (1,240 miles).
Tehran has tested the missile before, but the latest launch comes amid rising tensions with the US and Israel over the country's nuclear programme. [SNIP]
The launches were intended to deter any Israeli or US strike against Tehran's nuclear installations, says BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus. [SNIP]
In the Israeli parliament, Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim said: "I suggest Israel will not talk, and Israel should prepare itself to do what is needed to do."
The White House and both American presidential candidates also condemned the Iranian test.
Describing Iran as a "great threat", the Democratic challenger, Barack Obama, called for tougher sanctions while his Republican rival, John McCain, said the test demonstrated the need for effective missile defence.
The verbal spat between the US and Russia came after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday inked an initial agreement on missile-defense deployment with the Czech government in Prague, as reported by the Associated Press.Are we looking at the beginning of the alliance from Hell?
According to Reuters, Russia's Foreign Ministry responded to the news in a statement: "If the real deployment of an American strategic missile defense shield begins close to our borders, then we will be forced to react not with diplomatic methods, but with military-technical methods."
In reaction to that statement, the US criticized Russia for its "bellicose rhetoric," which it said was meant to intimidate the European partners of the US into backing out of the defense plan, according to the BBC. [SNIP]
The US insists the shield is designed to protect against attacks from "rogue states" in the Middle East, such as Iran.
But Russia has strongly protested, saying the deployment of the US shield would threaten its security by blunting the capabilities of its own missile force.
UPDATE: And before someone tells me that the mullahs would never work with the god-less, infidel Russians, save it. They'll join--temporarily, to be sure--with whomever they think will give them a leg up on the object of their hatred and envy: Israel.
UPDATE: More on Obama's reaction from Jim Geraghty:
On Today Show this morning, Matt Lauer asked Obama if he were president this morning, what his immediate response would be to Iran's missile tests.Don't forget what the 2008 Democrat nominee for POTUS said about how to handle Iran.
I think we've got to gather up all the intelligence necessary with the situation, but there's no doubt that we're seeing rising tensions in the area.
To echo Ed, intelligence-gathering? This isn't a rumor of missile tests. U.S. systems detected and tracked at least seven of the missiles. The regime announced it on state-run TV, and showed missiles flying into the air (although perhaps it was file footage).
Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.Yes, as of today, July 9, 2008, that's still his policy. He still believes that those who want to bring the return of the Mahdi can be appeased.