In an interview with Israeli news outlet Haaretz, Gantz made some quite surprising statements, including pointing out exactly what I have been saying for months, “the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people.”
The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this is that the Iranian leadership is not by any means insane or suicidal enough to either develop a nuclear weapon or use it against anyone, especially Israel.
Yet compared to the rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gantz is incredibly subdued in his statements, evidenced by Haaretz pointing out, “His language is far from the dramatic rhetoric of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and is usually free of the Holocaust comparisons of which Israeli politicians are so fond.”
However, Gantz is presenting a very mixed message throughout the interview. At some points he’s saying that they have not so much as decided to progress towards a nuclear weapon, while at other times he says that Iran still has to decide to take “its nuclear program to a civilian footing only.”
“[Iran] is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn’t yet decided whether to go the extra mile,” Gantz said.
It is this kind of ambiguous language which leaves plenty of wiggle room for him to go back on his clear statements – which are echoed in so many other sectors like U.S. intelligence and Panetta’s statements – if Israel decides to go to war with Iran without any clear justification.
“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 said.
Interestingly, Gantz seems to hint that they will not look to the United States for a so-called “green light” for an attack on Iran.
“America says its piece openly, and what it says in the media is also said behind closed doors. It cannot be translated into lights, red or green, because no one is asking them anything in that regard,” Gantz said.
Gantz stated that this would be a quite large deployment, requiring massive amounts of resources and a large, powerful strike form the very beginning.
“I am preparing for full deployment of our capabilities. The political leadership will have to take courageous, painful decisions,” Gantz said. “There are a certain number of critical decisions in a war. The chief of staff makes about 10 of these in his sphere of responsibility in wartime, and the political leadership makes about half this number.”
He also said that they would expect more attacks on Israel, perhaps even from Syria and Lebanon, although there are no facts to back up his claims other than his clearly biased presumptions.
It will be interesting to see how Israel moves forward in the near future, as the Israeli leadership seems completely uninterested in any negotiations or peaceful, diplomatic attempts to resolve the situation.
Meanwhile, Iran has made it very clear that they want to participate in the nuclear negotiations even though the United States will likely come to the table with many significant demands while claiming that Iran has no right to come to the table with any demands or conditions whatsoever.