In response to a massive military exercise carried out by the Israeli armed forces on Saturday, the Iranian government spokesman said they will not be provoked by such displays, adding that “Israel is a threat to global peace”. The exercise, which consisted of more than 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s flying more than 900 miles in the Mediterranean, was meant to show that Israeli planes could launch a bombing mission on Iran's alleged nuclear facility at Natanz. The distance the planes flew was the exact distance between Israel and the Natanz facility.

US officials dismissed the exercise as “sabre-rattling”, and said Israel is not likely to bomb Iran without US permission. "If the Israelis were serious about it, no one would know about it until after it has happened," said the official, adding that the Pentagon knew that Israeli forces "have been conducting some large-scale exercises – they live in a tough neighborhood".

The US government has recently increased its rhetoric against Iran, accusing the Islamic Republic of attempting to create a nuclear weapons program. This is despite the investigation of the International Atomic Energy Association, which says that there is no evidence that the Iranian government is enriching uranium for a nuclear weapons program. The Israeli government, on the other hand, has an estimated 300 nuclear weapons, a fact which the Israeli Prime Minister finally admitted last year, after denying the existence of the weapons for decades.

An Iranian government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham, dismissed suggestions of an attack by Israel as "impossible".

But according to Martin Van Creveld, an Israeli military analyst, preparations for a possible attack are under way. "Israel has been talking about this possibility for a long time, that it would not take an Iranian nuclear weapon lying down."