In Washington, Gantz warns against concessions with Iran

Outgoing defense chief says sanctions enforced thus far have forced internal political change inside the Islamic Republic.

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January 8, 2015 04:06
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DF chief of general staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Colin Powell . (photo credit: SHMULIK ALMANI)

 
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WASHINGTON -- At a dinner in his honor at the Israeli embassy in Washington, outgoing IDF chief of general staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned US defense staff, administration officials and congressmen that war might result from failed negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

"Now is not the time for concessions," he told the group, that included General Colin Powell, Senator Lindsey Graham and Ambassador Ron Dermer, among others. "Iran is currently under major pressure."

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Israel prefers a diplomatic solution, he said, but the failure of talks— by Israel's standards— will prolong the decade-long crisis.

"It will lead to war," he said.

The outgoing defense chief said that sanctions enforced thus far had forced internal political change inside the Islamic Republic.

During his final official trip to Washington, Gantz thanked colleagues at the White House and State Department for demonstrating broad commitment to the alliance.

Introducing him, former undersecretary of defense Michele Flournoy— floated as a potential defense secretary by the Obama administration this fall— thanked Gantz for his work on Iron Dome, expanding US-Israeli defense cooperation and for guiding Israel through the summer's Gaza war with "a compassionate hand."



Israel's Major General Yaacob Ayish at the event said that the strategic security relationship between Israel and the US became stronger than ever under under Gantz.

"As all of you in the room who know him—whether it was during his time in Washington as the Military Attache or in his current role—Benny is truly a gentlemen," Ayish said.



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