A unilateral attack by Israel against Iran to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions would be an "absolute catastrophe," French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Thursday.
Sarkozy was speaking after a summit of G8 and other leaders in Italy at which they agreed on the need to pursue a negotiated deal with Tehran to halt a program which Western powers fear hides a plan to acquire nuclear weapons.
Earlier, a senior adviser to Iran's top authority said Tehran will not back down "even one step" over its nuclear work.
Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on international affairs, said Western countries did not want the Islamic state to have peaceful nuclear activities, state broadcaster IRIB said on its website.
"Britain and France would want a weakened Iran at the negotiating table and are after the complete stoppage of Iran's nuclear activity," Velayati said.
But, he said "the Islamic Republic of Iran will be present at the scene even more strongly than yesterday and will not retreat even one step from its peaceful nuclear activity."
On Wednesday, the French president said Group of Eight major powers would give Iran until September to accept negotiations over its nuclear ambitions or else face tougher sanctions.