Israel's defense minister has apologized to his U.S. counterpart for criticizing Washington and for calling it weak when it comes to its stance on Iran's nuclear program.

A statement from Moshe Yaalon's office late Wednesday says he phoned U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and told him he hadn't intended to harm relations between the two close allies.

This week, Yaalon questioned Washington's commitment to Israel's security. He said Israel cannot depend on the United States to lead any action against Iran's nuclear program and can only rely on itself.

Earlier, he also criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying the top American diplomat was unrealistic and naive in trying to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Kerry on Wednesday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest Yaalon's remarks.