The dangers of a war on Iran moved one step closer last week as Israel conducted a 'training mission' over the eastern Mediterranean sea.
The military exercise involved over 100 warplanes and aerial refuelling tanker aircraft. It was a simulation for an attack on Iran's Natanz nuclear enrichment plant.
One Pentagon official told the New York Times, 'They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know. There's a lot of signalling going on at different levels.'
Israel and the US have been upping the threats of a war on Iran recently. The exercise came shortly before the European Union froze the assets of Bank Melli, Iran's biggest bank.
The US blames Iran for supporting the resistance in Iraq, while Israel wants the US to launch a war in order to weaken the Hamas resistance in Palestine and Hizbollah in Lebanon.
Earlier this year the Israelis attacked an instillation in Syria they say was being used to develop nuclear weapons.
This month Israel's deputy prime minister Shaul Mofaz announced, 'The window of opportunity has closed. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear programme.'
Mohammad Ali Hosseini, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry dismissed the threat as a smokescreen for 'Israeli failure'.
'The Zionist regime accepted its failure against the resistance of the Lebanese and Palestinian nations,' he said.
'It is faced with the corruption of its officials and makes such unfounded claims to transfer domestic crises to external causes.'