Iran hit back at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, with an Iranian envoy declaring his country is ready to defend itself against any Israeli attack.
"The Israeli prime minister had better not even think about attacking Iran, let alone planning for that," Khodadad Seifi, a deputy ambassador at Iran's UN mission, told the UN General Assembly, in comments quoted by the AFP news agency.
The diplomat spoke immediately after Netanyahu in the assembly to condemn what he called the Israeli prime minister's "extremely inflammatory" and "saber-rattling" remarks.
The diplomat said Netanyahu should "seriously avoid miscalculation" in the showdown.
"Iran's centuries-old policy of non aggression must not be interpreted as its inability to defend itself,” he declared.
"Unlike Israel, Iran did not and would not attack any country," he added in the right of reply statement.
Iran's opponents, such as Netanyahu, have accused Iran of leading a charm offensive while pursuing nuclear weapons. Seifi replied to the accusations by saying, "A smile attack is better than military attack. And indeed a smile policy is much better than lying."
In his speech, Netanyahu urged the world to maintain pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.
Diplomacy can work, he said, but only if the international community takes a firm stance. “We all want to give diplomacy with Iran a chance to succeed,” he said. “But when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance.”
If all else fails, he hinted, Israel may attack Iran without international support. "If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," said Netanyahu.