Chief of Staff: "Military threat, international pressure can stop Iran"

Lt. Gen. Gantz to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee: “The only ones who can relinquish the Iranian nuclear program are the Iranians themselves”

Date: 05/06/2012, 5:03 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz delivered a security assessment to the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today (Tuesday, June 5), discussing a number of strategic dilemmas facing the IDF (Zahal).

Lt. Gen. Gantz first discussed the Iranian nuclear threat. “Iran seeks nuclear weapons, and it hasn’t yet decided to cross the threshold due to its strategic considerations. The three vectors of diplomatic and political international isolation, international economic sanctions, and a present and credible military threat – all of this can stop the Iranians,” he said. “The only ones who can decide to relinquish the Iranian nuclear program are the Iranians themselves, and our army is also prepared for that possibility.”

The Chief of Staff also said that Syria is currently preoccupied with internal unrest, but added that Syria’s “military formations, such as commandos and anti-tank units, have not been damaged. We are worried by the smuggling of weapons between Syria and Hezbollah, now more than ever, because when the regime falls there are more materials that could be smuggled.”

“We are witnessing a high level of involvement by Iran and Hezbollah in Syria,” Lt. Gen. Gantz noted, adding that the IDF (Zahal) sees increasing instability on the Golan Heights as a result of events in Syria. “The incidents have not yet reached the status of high-level hostile terror activities, but they could get there,” estimated Lt. Gen. Gantz.

Lt. Gen. Gantz continued to explain that he believes the Assad regime will eventually fall, and that its fall “will shatter the radical axis.” Until the regime’s fall, however, he predicted increasing instability, including smuggling and disturbances along the border with the Golan Heights.

Regarding Hezbollah, Chief of Staff Gantz noted that the organization is still involved in planning worldwide terror attacks, as well as intervening in Syria.

The Chief of Staff also emphasized that peace with Egypt is “of the utmost importance and every effort should be made to preserve it.”