IDF Chief: Must Continue Counterproductive Iran Postures

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz urged more aggression against Iran, despite it consistently leading to unwanted results

by John Glaser, February 01, 2012

“The world and the region must continue to isolate Iran,” Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said on Wednesday.

“It is correct to continue economic pressure and sanctions,” Grantz continued, “from which we are starting to see signs of achievement and progress in terms of what is going on in Iran. It is correct to act and continue to disrupt processes associated with the development of the Iranian nuclear project and to work to enhance oversight over what is happening.”

Actually, the sanctions and other aggressive postures have been detrimental to regional stability and have failed to deter Iran from its nuclear policy, precisely the opposite of what Grantz claimed. In response U.S. sanctions, for example, Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz. And in response to a European embargo on Iranian oil imports, Iran preempted the move six months early, banning oil exports to Europe. More pressure has brought more reactionary postures from Iran.

Diplomacy, on the other hand, has done the opposite. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) three day negotiations with the Iranian government were “constructive,” according to reports. And both IAEA and Iranian officials said they look forward to additional talks which can then lead to more negotiations with the P5+1.

Grantz added: “we must not forget one basic thing: Israel is the only country in the world which someone is calling for its destruction and which someone is building the tools to do so. This is something that cannot be ignored.”

Iran denies any intention to build nuclear weapons and there is yet no evidence of any nuclear weapons program. All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in 2007, and again in 2011, that there is no military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. And despite the hyperbolic reporting on it, the latest report from the IAEA said, “the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material.”

As Adm. Dennis Blair, Obama’s former director of national intelligence, told Congress in March 2009, “We judge in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons design and weaponization activities” but that Tehran “is keeping open the option to develop them.” This is likely a deterrence strategy, as opposed to a desire to actually attain nuclear weapons, which would increase their risk of being attacked.

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