Iran's Foreign Ministry on Monday sought to downplay efforts by Israel to halt its nuclear program, saying that while Tehran does not take military threats emanating from Jerusalem seriously, it is fully prepared to respond in the event of an attack.

There has been much speculation that Israel will seek to strike Iranian nuclear targets before U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office in January.

"The global and regional situation and especially the confusion inside the Zionist regime [Israel] itself do not give military strikes any serious ground," spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters in Tehran.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last month that Iran was still trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and that Israel and the world must make every effort to prevent it from doing so.

"This is just a form of psychological war," Ghashghavi said.

He added that Iran's armed forces were fully prepared to confront any military aggression against the nation.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and military commanders have several times warned that the country would "cut the hands" of aggressors against it.

Both Israel and the United States have not ruled out military strikes against Iran's nuclear sites, as Tehran has so far defied international demands to suspend its nuclear enrichment work.