Chavez Warns on U.S. Attack

LONDON -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said that a U.S. attack on Iran over its nuclear program would trigger an enormous military escalation in the Middle East and that oil prices would soar to at least $100 per barrel.

Chavez said a U.S. military strike on Iran would provoke an Iranian attack on U.S. ally Israel, triggering a wider conflict in the region.

The Venezuelan leader, speaking Sunday in central London during a two-day visit, also cautioned that the middle class would have to pay more for gasoline.

"If the United States attacks Iran, among other things, my English friends and the middle-class ... should park their vehicles because oil could reach $100 a barrel or more," Chavez told a packed community center in a speech that lasted for more than three hours.

He said Iran would be forced to cut oil production in the event of a U.S. attack, which he said would be "a threat against us all."

Chavez, who called U.S. President George W. Bush a "terrorist," also criticized the war in Iraq, calling it the "Vietnam of the 21st century."

"If they attack Iran, I think it will be far worse than it was in Iraq," Chavez said to an audience of some 500 British lawmakers and left-leaning activists in London.

"The United States doesn't know what it's doing in Iraq: There's no government and there's civil war."