Iran: We Fired New Missile, Produced Nuclear Fuel Rod Country announces two breakthroughs By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jan 1, 2012 10:00 AM CST 19 comments Comments An Iranian navy boat fires a missile in a drill in the sea of Oman, on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/IIPA, Ali Mohammadi) (Newser) – A weekend of nuclear breakthroughs for Iran? A state news agency claims today that the country performed a successful test of a medium-range ground-to-air missile, one day after the country announced that it had produced its first nuclear fuel rod. The missile test took place during 10 days of naval exercises near the Straits of Hormuz, which Iran recently threatened to close if met with sanctions from the West on its oil exports. Tehran had promised to develop its own long-range surface-to-air missiles after a deal to buy them from Russia fell through last year. Today's announcement is likely designed to show that progress is being made, the Guardian reports; Iran wants the missiles to deter against an attack from the US or Israel against its nuclear program. Development of a fuel rod is a feat many in the West believed Iran wasn't capable of pulling off, reports the Wall Street Journal. Ironically, sanctions against the nation may have sped the development of the rod, which is necessary for a nuclear reactor. Because Iran could not purchase rods, the country was forced to develop one locally. Click for more on the new nuclear fuel rods.