Israeli military chief, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, told Haaretz Wednesday he believes the Iranian leadership is "very rational," adding he doesn't believe they will "go the extra mile" toward completing a nuclear weapon.
As long as nuclear facilities in Iran are not bomb-proof, "the program is too vulnerable, in Iran's view," Gantz said. "If the supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants, he will advance it to the acquisition of a nuclear bomb, but the decision must first be taken. It will happen if Khamenei judges that he is invulnerable to a response. I believe he would be making an enormous mistake, and I don't think he will want to go the extra mile."
Gantz softened earlier remarks from Israeli officials that the military option was first and foremost on their list of ideas, highlighting that international pressure on Iran was beginning to bear fruit.
"I also expect that someone is building operational tools of some sort, just in case. The military option is the last chronologically but the first in terms of its credibility. If it's not credible it has no meaning. We are preparing for it in a credible manner," he said.
The remarks seemed to soften comments made earlier this year by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that seemed to signal Israel was considering bombing Iran over its nuclear threat.
"Clearly, the more the Iranians progress the worse the situation is. This is a critical year, but not necessarily 'go, no-go,'" Gantz said, lightening the rhetoric. "We're closer to the end of the discussions than the middle."
by RTT Staff Writer
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