Panetta hopes Gantz is ‘correct’ on Iran assessment


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Leon Panetta, the U.S. defense secretary, said he hoped Israel’s top soldier was "correct" in assessing that the Iranian regime was rational.

"I would hope he’s correct and he knows something more that I do," Panetta was quoted as saying Thursday by AFP, the French news service, during a visit to Chile.

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Israeli military chief of staff, said in a Haaretz interview this week that he believed Iran’s leadership was "rational" and that would lead it to consider the consequences of developing a nuclear weapon.

Panetta, like Gantz, said he did not know whether the Iranians had decided to go ahead and build a nuclear weapon.

"I do not have any specific information that indicates they have made any decision one way or another," Panetta said.

He said he hoped "that because of the leadership of the United States, the international community and the leadership of Israel, they can make the right decision."

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