Daily Israel Report

Gantz: Iran's Leaders are Rational, But Radical Islam Isn't

In an interview, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said he did not believe Tehran would build nuclear weapons right now
By David Lev
First Publish: 4/26/2012, 3:01 PM

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

In an interview with the New York Times Thursday, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that Iran's leadership was “rational,” and that he did not believe Tehran would use its nuclear technology to build a nuclear weapon. Referring to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Gantz said that he probably realizes that build a nuclear bomb would be “a mistake, and I don't think he will want to go the extra mile” beyond developing nuclear capability, at least at this point.

However, as rational as Iran may be, Gantz said, fundamentalist Islam has a way of making people do some very irrational things. I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people. But I agree that such a capability, in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who at particular moments could make different calculations, is dangerous.”

Gantz's statement is at odds with comments by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who last week said that Iran was “feverishly” working to build a nuclear weapon, telling CNN in an interview that work was constantly being done in Iran to develop atomic bombs.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, a prominent Arab politician played down the alleged threat Israel poses to Iran. Salim al-Hoss, Lebanon's former Prime Minister, told al-Kawthar TV that pronouncements by Israeli politicians about the danger of Iran's nuclear program and the need to take decisive action to stop it were “mere rhetoric.”

Al-Hoss said that it was unlikely Israel would try to attack Iran because of the latter's military prowess. "It is not easy for the ‘Israeli’ enemy to simply attack a country like Iran, because in that case, Iran will for sure have a highly powerful response,” he said.