NEW YORK, June 21: Experts here warned that any attack on Iran could trigger a response which could undermine world peace for decades to come.

“A military invasion against Iran would pose great danger to the Middle East and the world,” the head of International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei warned in a interview to Dubai-based television station. It would turn the Middle East region “into a fireball’, he observed grimly.

“I don’t believe that what I see in Iran today is a current, grave and urgent danger. If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time ... it would make me unable to continue my work,” said the IAEA chief.

ElBaradei, repeatedly stressed that a military strike would be the worst result for the region, adding that an attack would give Iran more motivation to obtain nuclear power.

Russia’s foreign minister warned against the use of force on Iran, saying there is no proof it is trying to build nuclear weapons.

Any US-Iran or an attack by Israel would push up oil prices, and though Iran could disrupt shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf, its weak economy depends on oil revenues.

It was no coincident that while US President George Bush toured Europe to press the international community to stop Tehran from nuclear enrichment Israeli defence forces conducted major exercises in a run-up to an attack on Tehran’s nuclear installations.

At the same time co-coordinated or not Israel embarked on a massive diplomatic initiative by signalling Syria, even Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas -the Palestinian organisation- which it deemed terror body until now , that it is ready to make peace with them.

This sudden burst of peace initiative on the part of Jewish nation is ominous and baffling which prompted most experts believe that there is more to it than meets the eye.

Increasingly military analysts are warning of severe consequences if the US or Israel begin a shooting war with Iran. While Iranian forces maybe no match for American technology on a conventional battlefield, Iran has shown that it can respond in ways that has baffled the experts and military analysts.

Iranian networks in Iraq and Afghanistan could imperil US interests there; American forces throughout the Gulf region could be targeted by asymmetric methods and lethal rocket barrages; and Iranian partners across the region – such as Hezbollah in Lebanon – could be mobilised to engage in an anti-US fight.

Iran’s response could also be global, analysts say, but the scale would depend on the scale of the US attack. “One very important issue from a US intelligence perspective, [the Iranian reaction] is probably more unpredictable than the Al Qaeda threat,” Magnus Ranstorp at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College in Stockholm was quoted by a western newspaper.

“I doubt very much our ability to manage some of the consequences,” said Mr Ranstorp, noting that Iranian revenge attacks in the past have been marked by “plausible deniability” and have had global reach.

“If you attack Iran you are unleashing a firestorm of reaction internally that will only strengthen revolutionary forces, and externally in the region,” says Ranstorp. “It’s a nightmare scenario for any contingency planner, and I think you really enter the twilight zone if you strike Iran.”

Though the US military has since early 2007 accused Iran’s Qods Force – an elite element of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – of providing anti-US militias in Iraq with lethal roadside bombs, and of training and backing “special groups” in actions that the US government alleges have cost “thousands” of lives, US commanders have played down Iran’s military capabilities.

Even Admiral William Fallon, who publicly opposed a US strike on Iran before he resigned in April, dismissed Iran as a military threat. “Get serious,” Adm Fallon told Esquire in March. “These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them.”

AFP adds:

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