Israeli army Chief of Staff: Iran not decided to produce atomic bomb
The Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, Major General Benny Gantz, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Iran has not decided to switch to the production of nuclear weapons. "Iran could proceed on the path to acquiring the bomb but the decision is yet to be taken. If Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants, his country will move forward in the acquisition of the atomic bomb, but the decision must be made first, "stated Gantz.
"I think it would be a huge mistake and I do not think he (Khamenei) will want to take that extra step. The Iranian leaders are very rational people," said the chief of Staff in an interview with leftist daily Haaretz.
"But I admit that such a capacity (nuclear) in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, who may at some point engage in further calculations, is dangerous," noted General Gantz.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, said that Iran must stop "all enrichment" of uranium at any level whatsoever, in an interview with CNN. "They need to stop all enrichment," he said in this interview conducted in Jerusalem, stressing that Israel could not accept that Iran is enriching uranium even at 3%, close to the requirements for energy purposes.
For his part, Barak said Wednesday on public radio that Iran has "not yet decided to produce atomic bombs."
About a possible Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, General Gantz said that "the military option is the last in terms of chronology, but the first in terms of credibility. If it is not credible, it loses its meaning. We are preparing a credible way. It's my job as a soldier. "
On the international sanctions imposed on Iran, the Israeli chief of staff felt they begin to "bear fruit". "The pressure is beginning to bear fruit in terms of economic sanctions," opined the Israeli general.
Asked about the effect of the international sanctions, the Israeli defense minister has also said that "if the Americans, Europeans and ourselves are committed, there is a chance to stop the Iranians before they reach the atomic weapon."
Barak also reiterated that "all options remain on the table", alluding to a possible Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.
These statements were made on the occasion of celebrations to mark Israel's independence days that begin Wednesday night.