TEHRAN (AFP) - Top Iranian officials lashed out on Tuesday at US General David Petraeus for his comments asserting the Islamic republic is becoming a thugocracy, saying such terms are only used by thugs. The murderous government of the United States is a government of thugs which has killed thousands of Iraqis, Afghans and Palestinians, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said in the assembly. This exhausted general has insulted the Iranian government by calling it a government of thugocracy. It is understandable why you (Petraeus) utter such comments because the people of the region hate you, the official IRNA news agency quoted Larijani as saying. Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, said on Sunday that Iran is becoming a thugocracy given its attempts to suppress popular anger over last years contested presidential vote results. I think youve heard it said by pundits that Iran has gone from being a theocracy to a thugocracy, Petraeus, whose command stretches from Egypt to Pakistan and includes Iran, said on CNN. Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast too hit out at Petraeus. Such language is used by thugs... this attitude is of thugs, Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference. We feel officials in the US are furious. We dont know why they are furious... maybe due to their failure in launching a soft war (against Iran) or that the role of their intelligence services has been revealed in the case of (Abdolmalek) Rigi, he said. Iran captured top Sunni militant Rigi last month and accused US, Britain and Israel of supporting him in carrying out attacks against the Islamic republic.