A Western military strike on Iran would be a 'catastrophe' that would aggravate dangerous divisions already present in the Muslim world, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

When asked at an annual news conference whether the United States and its allies would be a military strike on Iran, Lavrov said, "On the chances of whether this catastrophe will happen or not you should ask those who repeatedly talk about this."

"I have no doubt that it would pour fuel on a fire which is already smouldering, the hidden smouldering fire of Sunni-Shi'ite confrontation, and beyond that (it would cause) a chain reaction -- I don't know where it would stop," he said.

Last week, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the ITAR-Tass news agency that a military action against Iran would be a "grave mistake, a flagrant error" with far-reaching consequences for regional and global stability.

These comments followed an earlier statement by Russia's Foreign Ministry statement that expressed regret and concern about the launch of the new Iranian uranium enrichment facility, but urged all parties involved in the nuclear standoff with Iran to avoid hasty moves.