© WANA/Reuters
Iranian rocket Bavar-373, video broadcast Iran 22/8/2019
Tehran successfully test-fired a new missile, according to the leader of the elite Revolutionary Guards. The launch comes as Tehran seeks to deter military escalation with the United States in the Persian Gulf.

Major General Hossein Salami disclosed the tests to a group of clerics on Saturday:
"Our country is always the arena for testing a variety of defense and strategic systems and these are non-stop movements towards the growth of our deterrent power. Yesterday was one of the successful days for this nation."
According to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency, he did not provide details about the missile's range or capabilities.

Earlier this week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani officially unveiled the country's new air-defense missile system, the Bavar-373.
Bavar-373 on display
© Tasnim News Agency/REUTERS
The domestically built mobile missile defence system Bavar-373 is displayed on the National Defence Industry Day in Tehran, Iran August 22, 2019.

In recent years Iran has sought to rapidly develop its own defense industry, in order to reduce dependence on foreign arms. In June, the Islamic Republic inaugurated the Khordad 15 indigenous air defense missile system, capable of tracking and shooting down six targets at the same time.

The latest missile test follows Washington's decision to form a multinational coalition to "police" the Strait of Hormuz, after the US blamed Tehran for a string of mysterious attacks on oil tankers traveling through the waterway. Iran denied the allegations, saying Washington is stoking fears while failing to produce any evidence to support its claim.

Notably, tensions reached near boiling point after an Iranian tanker was seized off the coast of Gibraltar by British Royal Marines. The vessel was released earlier this week. Iran had described the move as "piracy" and seized a British-flagged vessel in retaliation.