French President Jacques Chirac said in an interview with three newspapers that Iran's possession of a nuclear bomb would not be "very dangerous" and that if it used the weapon on Israel, Teheran would be immediately "razed," according to a newspaper report.
Chirac - who made the comments during a Monday interview with The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and Le Nouvel Observateur, a weekly magazine - called reporters back the next day to try to have his quotes retracted.
In an article posted on its Web site Wednesday night, the New York Times said the Monday interview was tape recorded and on the record.
Chirac's initial remarks would mark a big departure from France's official policy of deterrence and work in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
"I should rather have paid attention to what I was saying and understood that perhaps I was on the record," Chirac said in the second interview on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.