Panetta hopes Israeli defense chief ‘correct’ on Iran nukes

The comments from Gantz were a stark contrast to those that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made about Iran, as Israeli has weighed whether to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“I believe [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] would be making an enormous mistake, and I don't think he will want to go the extra mile,” Gantz said in the Haaretz interview. “I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people.”

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During his visit to Washington last month, Netanyahu warned that time was running short before the Israelis would have to act to stop Iran, and he said that sanctions have not worked.

President Obama has urged Israel not to attack Iran yet, arguing that the window for a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program has not closed yet.

Iran and six world powers restarted negotiations this month. Netanyahu said the talks were giving Iran a “freebie,” which Obama took issue with publicly.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, while the United States, Israel and other allies suspect Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

Panetta said he did not have any specific information that Iran had decided one way or the other to build a bomb, according to AFP.

"I would like to hope … that because of the leadership of the United States, the international community and the leadership of Israel, they can make the right decision," he said.