Iran "will respond with full force" to any attack -- or even any threat of military action -- the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told students at a Tehran military college on Thursday.
"The enemies, especially America and its stooges and the Zionist regime (Israel), should know that it is not Iran's custom to invade any country or nation. But it will respond with full force to any aggression or even threats in a way that will demolish the aggressors from within," he said, according to a statement on his official website.
Khamenei's forceful language followed threats last week from Israel that air strikes could be in the offing against Iran's nuclear sites. Israeli President Shimon Peres said last weekend that such action was becoming "more and more likely."
Rhetoric between Iran and its two principal foes, Israel and the United States, has risen since the release Tuesday of a UN report saying there was "credible" evidence suggesting Iran's atomic programme was being used to research putting nuclear warheads in ballistic missiles.