Israel's defense minister says even if Iran develops nuclear arms, it is unlikely to bomb Israel.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak's comments appear to be an attempt to prepare a jittery Israel for the possibility of Tehran getting a nuclear weapon. The remarks were published Thursday in the Haaretz newspaper.

Iran denies its nuclear program is designed to produce weapons, but that claim is widely disbelieved. Israeli leaders have long warned Iran might bomb Israel if it became a nuclear power.

Haaretz asked whether Barak thought Iran would drop a nuclear bomb on Israel. The minister responded: "Not on us and not on any other neighbor."

However, Barak cautioned that it's impossible to predict Iran's behavior.

Israel is believed to have its own stockpile of atomic bombs.