Visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned that Israel would strike archfoe Iran before it was able to develop nuclear weapons, in comments published on Sunday.
"I honestly don't believe (a nuclear weapon) will give any immunity to Iran," Kouchner said in an interview conducted in English with Israel's Haaretz newspaper during a two-day visit to the region.
"First, because you will hit them before. And this is the danger. Israel has always said it will not wait for the bomb to be ready. I think that (the Iranians) know. Everyone knows."
The newspaper's print edition quoted Kouchner as saying that Israel would "eat" Iran, but in a written statement the foreign minister said he had used the word "hit," and that he regretted any "phonetic confusion".