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Jerusalem - Israel Army Chief: Other Nations Could Strike Iran

Published on: April 26, 2012 08:45 AM
By: AP
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FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2011 file photo, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz looks on during a change of the epaulets ceremony in the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. Israel's military chief has hinted that other countries could also strike Iran's nuclear sites to keep the country from acquiring atomic weapons. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2011 file photo, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz looks on during a change of the epaulets ceremony in the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. Israel's military chief has hinted that other countries could also strike Iran's nuclear sites to keep the country from acquiring atomic weapons. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

Jerusalem - Israel’s military chief said Thursday that other countries have readied their armed forces for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear sites to keep Tehran from acquiring atomic weapons.

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz did not specify which nations might be willing to support or take direct action against Iran. Still, his comments were one of the strongest hints yet that Israel may have the backing of other countries to strike the Islamic Republic to prevent it from developing nuclear arms.

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“The military force is ready,” Gantz said. “Not only our forces, but other forces as well.”

“We all hope that there will be no necessity to use this force, but we are absolutely sure of its existence,” he told The Associated Press, adding that he was not speaking on behalf of any other nation.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and that it does not aim to develop atomic weapons.

Israel, which views a nuclear Iran as an existential threat, has said it will not allow Tehran to acquire a nuclear bomb. It cites Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction, Tehran’s support for militant groups and its development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state.

Israel’s key ally, the United States, favors diplomacy and economic sanctions and has said military action on Iran’s nuclear facilities should only be a last resort if all else fails. U.S. logistical and diplomatic support would likely be crucial to any potential Israeli strike.

Washington and other major powers have imposed a series of crippling economic sanctions while opening a dialogue with Iran.

Gantz said that in his assessment Iran is seeking to develop its “military nuclear capability,” but that the Islamic Republic would ultimately bow to international pressure and decide against building a weapon.

The key to that pressure, he said, were sanctions and the threat of a military strike.

Gantz’s stance on Iran’s intentions appeared to put him at odds with Israel’s political leaders, who have staked out a more hardline position. Gantz denied that was the case Thursday, saying there was no internal disagreement over Iran’s aims.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Tuesday that international sanctions have not changed Iran’s behavior, and that the country continues to enrich uranium — a key step toward developing a weapon.

The sanctions “haven’t rolled back the Iranian program or even stopped it by one iota,” Netanyahu said.


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Read Comments (3)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 26, 2012 at 01:00 PM mogenavrochom Says:

The US and/or Israel should offer a 10 million dollar reward for any group of Iranian Scientists that effectively sabotages the Iranian nuclear program and installation.This would be a lot less expensive than other alternatives.

2

 Apr 26, 2012 at 03:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Mr gantz you said it right! "COULD" but nobody will, not even America! The job is all yours. Enjoy it!

3

 Apr 27, 2012 at 10:43 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2. His title is General, not Mister Gantz.

4

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