TEHRAN (AFP) — A senior Iranian military commander has warned that any US or Israeli attack on the Islamic republic would start a world war, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.
"Any aggression against Iran will start a world war," deputy chief of staff for defence publicity, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, said in a statement carried by the agency.
Iran is under international pressure to halt uranium enrichment, a process which lies at the core of fears about Iran's nuclear programme as it can make nuclear fuel as well as the fissile core of an atom bomb.
"The unrestrained greed of the US leadership and global Zionism... is gradually leading the world to the edge of a precipice," Jazayeri said, citing the unrest in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Georgia.
"It is evident that if such a challenge occurs, the fake and artificial regimes will be eliminated before anything," he said, without naming any countries.
Iran does not recognise Israel, which is often described by officials in Tehran as a "fake regime."
The United States and its staunch ally Israel, the region's sole if undeclared nuclear armed nation, accuse Iran of seeking atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme.
Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting its nuclear drive is aimed solely at providing electricity for a growing population when its reserves of fossil fuels run out.
The United States has never ruled out military action against Iran over its defiance of international demands for an enrichment freeze, but so far is pursuing the diplomatic route with calls for more sanctions.
Iranian officials have repeatedly vowed a crushing response to any attacks.