Leon Panetta April 25, 2012 (AP)
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during visit to Brazil, April 25, 2012. Photo by AP
Text size

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said on Thursday he hopes that statements by Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz describing Iran's leadership as "rational" were correct, AFP reported.

In an interview published in Haaretz on Wednesday, Gantz said that "the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people" and that Iran has not yet decided whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

“I would hope he’s correct and he knows something more than I do,” Panetta said of Gantz during a visit to Chile, according to the AFP report.

“I do not have any specific information that indicates (the Iranians) have made any decision one way or another,” Panetta was quoted as saying.

 “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,” Panetta continued.

Israel and other Western nations suspect Iran of having a nuclear weapons development program, something that Iran denies. Neither Israel nor the United States have ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.