Iran warns 'attack will lead to Israel's collapse'
Iran on late Saturday warned Israel against mounting an attack on its nuclear facilities amid rising international tension over its uranium enrichment programme.
General Ahmad Vahidi issued a statement warning Israel that an attack would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state.
The warning on Iran's state-run Press TV website came after a UN report said Iran had tripled its production rate of enriched uranium over the past three months.
Meanwhile diplomatic experts have warned that a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear sites by Israel could draw the US into a new Middle East conflict.
"Israel can commence a war with Iran, but it may well take US involvement to conclude it," said Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
If Israel's American-made strike planes managed to penetrate Iranian air space and bomb Iran's main nuclear facilities, some of which are underground, then Iran would be expected to retaliate.
Barack Obama has not ruled out using force to stop Iran from building a bomb. But his administration, joined by many allied nations, has counselled Israel to hold off.
Obama is due to meet the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, at the White House on 5 March.
Iran's warning follows increasingly tough rhetoric from Israel about the need to halt Iran's nuclear development.
Israeli officials believe a pre-emptive strike must happen before the summer because Tehran is moving more of its nuclear installations underground.
Meanwhile, Israel's intelligence minister yesterday said the fall of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad would end an axis with Iran and its President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, benefiting Israel.
"There is an Assad-Ahmadinejad axis, a Tehran-Damascus axis," Dan Meridor told army radio. "Breaking this axis would be good for Israel.
Israel has watched closely the turmoil in Syria which is the major ally of Iran, Iran's arch rival.