UNITED NATIONS - Iran hit back at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after his speech at the UN General Assembly, saying the Israeli leader "baselessly" associated the Islamic world with the Islamic State militant group.

Iran's Deputy Ambassador Khodadad Seifi spoke immediately after Netanyahu in the 193-member assembly to condemn what he called the Israeli prime minister's "extremely inflammatory" and "saber-rattling" remarks, in which he hurled threats to Iran.

"The Israeli prime minister had better not even think about attacking Iran, let alone planning for that," he said. The Iranian 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 while exercising his right of reply.

Netanyahu said Iran is on a mission to spread Islamic revolution around the world, and that a nuclear-armed Iran would be more dangerous than the Islamic State group. He said all Muslim militants, including those from the Islamic State, Hamas, al-Qaida and Boko Haram, share the same fanatical idealism and that Iran could be their power base. The Iranian diplomat accused Netanyahu of spreading "Iranophobia and Islamophobia."

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States does not agree with Netanyahu's characterization of all Islamists. Psaki said while Hamas and Islamic State are both terrorist groups, they pose different threats and no one is suggesting the U.S. use force against Hamas. 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." Seifi further noted that Netanyahu’s remarks made the attendees at the UN gathering laugh as the Tel Aviv regime has breached international laws and regulations in its recent attack against Palestinians. Israel unleashed a military offensive on Gaza in early July and later expanded its military campaign with a ground invasion into the Palestinian territory. Over 2,130 Palestinians lost their lives and some 11,000 were injured. The Iranian diplomat said the recent crimes against Gaza are just one set of incidents among many such crimes.

He added that Israeli nuclear weapons are a source of serious concern in the region and the rest of the world since Israel has repeatedly shown how bloodthirsty it is. He also stated that Netanyahu’s comments are part of Tel Aviv’s campaign to undermine the negotiations on Iran’s civilian nuclear programme. Netanyahu reacted to nuclear talks between Iran and the Sextet of world powers, saying, an agreement between the two sides “would pose the gravest threat to us all." Iran and its negotiating partners -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany-- have been holding talks to resolve the dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program. Since 1958, when Israel began building its Dimona plutonium- and uranium-processing facility in the Negev Desert, it has secretly manufactured numerous nuclear warheads, making it the only player in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons.

Former US President Jimmy Carter has attested to the existence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal, which he said has between 200 and 400 warheads.