The government in Tehran has warned the United States that an attack on Syria would have "dire" consequences. Analysts expect the US to make some sort of attack on Syria in response to the regime's use of chemical weapons last week.
However, according to Iran's Deputy Chief of Staff, General Massoud Jazaeiri, "America knows the limits of the red line in Syria." He warned that crossing the line "would result in dire consequences for the White House."
The Iranian military official's warning coincides with a statement by Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur that US forces are ready to use the military option against Syria. The chances of a military strike against Syria have increased with the deployment of a fourth cruise-missile armed US warship into the Mediterranean Sea.
Jazaeiri accused the United States and what he called "backward states in the region" of planning a "terrorist" war against Syria to target the "Resistance Front", a reference to the alliance between Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah. Iran is accused by Western and Arab countries as well as by Syrian opposition forces of supporting Assad with money, weapons and military know-how.
According to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem has confirmed that Syria will cooperate with a UN team which has arrived in Damascus to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use. He added that the Syrian government had "reassured" Iran that it did not use such weapons.
The Syrian opposition, meanwhile, has confirmed the deaths of more than 1,400 people, including a large number of women and children, as a result of a chemical attack at dawn last Wednesday. The Syrian authorities have denied its troops' involvement in such an attack, accusing "terrorists" of being responsible for the atrocity. This is not the first time that the regime in Damascus has made counter-accusations against opposition forces on the use of chemical weapons.