The deputy to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that Iran was a friend of Israel, Iranian news agencies reported.

"Iran wants no war with any country, and today Iran is friend of the United States and even Israel.... Our achievements belong to the whole world and should be used for expanding love and peace," said Iranian Vice President Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, who is also head of the Cultural Heritage Organization.

The Cultural Heritage Organization news agency quoted him as saying that even during the eight-year war against Iraq, Iran just defended itself against the military invasion by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The remarks by the vice president followed last week's warnings by some Iranian officials that Tehran's long-range missiles could target the Jewish state if the U.S. and Israel realized their threats to attack Iran's nuclear sites.

Ahmadinejad himself caused international uproar with his anti-Israel tirades, voicing hope for the eradication of Israel from the Middle East, demanding its relocation to Europe or Alaska and doubting the historic dimension of the Holocaust during World War II.