Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi has responded to Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s warning urging Tehran to get out of Syria, telling reporters that Iran would continue to defend its interests both in Syria and throughout the Middle East, and warning Israel against escalatory behavior.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will show a crushing and regrettable response to any act of aggression or stupid move from that Zionist regime against our country’s interests in Syria and the region,” Mousavi said, his remarks published on the foreign ministry’s website.

Mousavi noted that Iran “has been present in Syria at the invitation and with the agreement of that country’s government with the purpose of fighting against terrorism sponsored by the US and Israel.” The spokesman warned that Tehran “will not hesitate for a moment over safeguarding its presence in Syria and defending its national security and regional interests.”

The official’s comments come on the heels of remarks by Bennett on Tuesday warning Tehran that it had “nothing to look for in Syria.”

“When an octopus’s tentacles hit you, don’t just fight back against those arms, but strangle the head as well. That’s how we must deal with Iran,” Bennett said. According to the official, Israel has been “fighting the arms of the Iranian octopus in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza” for “generations.”

“Now we are changing the concept: we are engaged in an ongoing campaign to weaken the Iranian octopus head itself, through economic, policy, intelligence and military action, as well as other dimensions,”  Bennett said.