UNITED NATIONS  - Iran and Israel stepped up their nuclear tensions Friday with Iran’s foreign minister calling for UN Security Council action over the killings of nuclear scientists he blames on Israel.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi spoke out at the UN General Assembly a day after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community for a “clear red line” to stop Iran getting a nuclear bomb.

Without naming Israel or the United States, which Iran has accused of staging the killings of four atomic scientists, Salehi said Iran had been a victim of “nuclear terrorism.”

Salehi said the Security Council, which has passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran’s uranium enrichment, should stop using nuclear weapons fears “as a pretext to act as a legislative body.” The council should “utilize its authority to act against those states undertaking cyber attacks and sabotage in the peaceful nuclear facilities and kill nuclear scientists of other countries,” Salehi told a UN General Assembly meeting on nuclear terrorism.

“Any such act committed by a state, as certain countries continue to commit such crimes in my country, is a manifestation of nuclear terrorism and consequently a grave violation of the principles of UN Charter and international law,” Salehi added.

The United States has denied involvement in the killings of four Iranian scientists since 2010. Israel has refused to comment on the killings.

According to US media, the United States and Israel were behind the Stuxnet computer virus which temporarily crippled Iran’s uranium enrichment at its Natanz plant.

Israel’s Netanyahu launched a fierce onslaught against Iran at the General Assembly on Thursday, warning that it could be ready to build a nuclear bomb in less than a year. Salehi reaffirmed Iran’s denial that it seeks an atomic weapon. The Israeli prime minister used a cartoon drawing of a bomb with the fuse lit to put his red line through Iran’s nuclear program and demand a limit on its uranium enrichment. He did not threaten a unilateral attack, but said Iran’s uranium enrichment plants were a credible “target”.

Iran sent a diplomat to the UN assembly to warn that it would “retaliate with full force” against any attack and to demand that the international community “exert pressure on this regime to end all this irresponsible behaviour.” While Israel has warned that it could carry out a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the United States is part of a six-nation group which has approved sanctions against Iran while pursuing diplomatic talks on its program. The group - which also includes Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - met on Thursday and warned that the Islamic state must “urgently” act to ease international fears about its nuclear program.

But EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she would talk with Iranian negotiators to see if new talks are to be held.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday his warning about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran had reverberated around the world. “I tried to say something yesterday, that I think reverberates now around the world,” Netanyahu told Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the start of a meeting in New York in which he praised Canada’s move to cut ties with Iran. Netanyahu reiterated in his remarks to Harper that Iran’s uranium enrichment must be the target as it was the “only discernible and vulnerable part of their nuclear program.”

He praised Harper for Canada’s decision to close its Tehran embassy and expel Iranian diplomats. “Severing ties with Iran, was not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity,” the Israeli premier said. Harper replied that Canada wanted “to see a peaceful resolution of all this, and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.”

Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke by phone, after the US leader was criticised for failing to meet the prime minister at the United Nations in New York. The White House said in a short statement that the two men agreed on their “shared goal” of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.