Iran on Tuesday said it is dismissing Israeli threats of an imminent attack against it, explaining that even some Israeli officials realized such a "stupid" act would provoke "very severe consequences."
"In our calculations, we aren't taking these claims very seriously because we see them as hollow and baseless," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters in a weekly briefing.
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"Even if some officials in the illegitimate regime (Israel) want to carry out such a stupid action, there are those inside (the Israeli government) who won't allow it because they know they would suffer very severe consequences from such an act," he said.
Iranian Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying that Israel "definitely doesn't have what it takes to endure Iran's might and will."
He called the Israeli threats "a sign of weakness" by "brainless leaders" adding that they derive from Israel's internal problems such as the social crisis.
The comments were a response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's statements in recent days suggesting they were thinking more seriously of military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.
"We are determined to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear (armed), and all the options are on the table. When we say it, we mean it," Barak told Israeli radio last Thursday.
The United States has recently multiplied visits by top officials to Israel in what appears to be an attempt to dissuade the Jewish state from targeting the Islamic republic.
"We continue to believe there is time and space for diplomacy," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday.
Meanwhile, the New York Times dedicated an editorial to the reports of a possible Israeli strike on Iran. Slamming Benjamin Netanyahu's policy, the editorial stated, " There is still time for intensified diplomacy. It would be best served if the major powers stay united and Israeli leaders temper loose talk of war."
It described the ongoing discourse on the matter as" at best, mischievous and, at worst, irresponsible."
Dudi Cohen contributed to this report
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