A senior Iranian official warned Israel on Thursday that a military strike against Iran would create a threat to its own survival.

If the Zionist regime allows itself such an oversight, a question of its existence will arise -- not a question of its legitimacy but a question of its existence, Ali Baqeri, deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said through an interpreter during a visit to Moscow.

Baqeri's remarks echoed a warning by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said military action against Iranian nuclear sites would be met with iron fists, Iranian state television reported.

Tension over Iran's nuclear programme has increased since the release of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report saying Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a bomb and may still be conducting secret research to that end.

Speculation has heightened in the Israeli and Western press about the possibility of strikes by both Israel and the United States on Iran's nuclear sites.

Baqeri said Iran does not believe Israel will launch an attack, saying Israel is in the worst condition since its creation ... in political, economic and social terms and in terms of security issues.

He said the people of these countries (in the Middle East) want to chase Israel from the region. And so now the Zionist regime has very many weak points.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Sophie Hares)