Washington Post – Israel’s military chief Major General Benny Gantz said in an interview published Wednesday that he believes Iran will choose not to build a nuclear bomb, an assessment that contrasted with the gloomier statements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pointed to differences over the Iran issue at the top levels of Israeli leadership.
The comments by Maj. Gen Benny Gantz, who said international sanctions have begun to show results, could relieve pressure on the Obama administration and undercut efforts by Israeli political leaders to urge the United States to get as tough as possible on Iran.
Gantz described Iranian leaders as “very rational people” who are still mulling whether to “go the extra mile” and produce nuclear weapons.
“I believe he would be making an enormous mistake, and I don’t think he will want to go the extra mile,” Gantz said of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. While Gantz cautioned that Khamenei could still change his mind, the supreme leader has said repeatedly that Iran does not intend to build a nuclear weapon, and that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes.
Although striking in its bluntness, Gantz’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions did not differ dramatically from comments made publicly and privately by other current and former Israeli officials in recent months. Others have also concluded, for example, that Iran intends to achieve nuclear weapons capability but would stop short of assembling and testing a bomb, steps that would almost certainly incur a military response from Israel and perhaps the United States.
1. Iranian government will tone down its nuclear ambitions to the point where it will devleop weapons-grade nuclear material only for research purposes
2. Real power rests not with the mullahs or even with the Supreme Leader, but with what he calls the “moneyed interests” of Iranian society: “the banker, the oil people, the bazaris”. Currently quiet and moderate mullahs will become more vocal.
3. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad influence will decline and has been in decline.