PARIS Iran's Revolutionary Guards test-fired nine missiles in war-game maneuvers on Wednesday, including at least one the government in Tehran described as having the range to reach Israel.
The tests drew sharp American criticism and came a day after the Iranians threatened to retaliate against Israel and the United States if attacked.
State-run media said the missiles were long- and medium-range weapons, and included a Shahab-3, which Tehran maintains is able to hit targets up to 1,250 miles away from its firing position. Parts of western Iran are within 650 miles of Tel Aviv.
The tests, shown on Iranian television, coincided with increasingly tense exchanges with the West over Tehran's nuclear program, which Iran said is for civilian purposes but which many Western governments suspect is aimed at building nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, the United States and the Czech Republic signed an accord to allow the Pentagon to deploy part of its contentious anti-ballistic missile shield, which Washington maintains is intended to protect in part against Iranian missiles.
At the same time, U.S. and British warships have been conducting naval maneuvers in the Persian Gulf apparently within range of the launching site of the missiles Iran tested on Wednesday.
The Israelis whose air force last month practiced what American intelligence officials called a rehearsal for a possible strike on Iranian nuclear facilities said they did not want war with Iran. But Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said, "The Iranian nuclear program and the Iranian ballistic missile program must be of grave concern to the entire international community."
The missile tests drew a sharp response from the U.S. Gordon D. Johndroe, the deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement at the Group of Eight meeting in Japan that Iran's development of ballistic missiles was a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
"The Iranian regime only furthers the isolation of the Iranian people from the international community when it engages in this sort of activity," Johndroe said.
He urged Iran to "refrain from further missile tests if they truly seek to gain the trust of the world," and said, "The Iranians should stop the development of ballistic missiles which could be used as a delivery vehicle for a potential nuclear weapon immediately."
Some saw the tests as essentially deterrent in nature. A senior American intelligence official said the missile tests, together with belligerent comments by Iranian officials, seemed part of a strategy to warn Iran's neighbors of its "capacity to inflict pain."