Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro warned on Monday that a US-Israeli attack on Iran is "imminent" and predicted that this could trigger a global nuclear war.
In a special appearance on state-run television for the first time in nearly a year, the Communist leader described US and Israeli sabre-rattling over Iran's civil nuclear energy programme as "the most serious crisis" on the international scene because "the Iranian government will not retreat."
"The Iranians have been preparing themselves for 30 years, and have acquired all the Russian and Chinese aeroplanes and weapons necessary for their defence," Mr Castro said.
"They are training all people between the ages of 12 and 60 - just the Guardians of the Revolution have a million members," he added.
And Mr Castro insisted that the US sank the South Korean Cheonan warship in order to justify an attack on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
He said that "in the face of a massive attack against Iran, North Korea will not wait to be attacked, and a nuclear war will also break out in that zone.
"When they decide to attack Iran, one war after the other will be unleashed," he declared.
The veteran Communist spoke out at a delicate time politically for Cuba, as it begins releasing 52 prisoners under a landmark deal brokered with Spanish officials and the Catholic church last week.
The men were all arrested in a crackdown on US-backed subversion in 2003.