In an interview in Wednesday’s Haaretz magazine IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that Iran’s leadership was rational a description that has raised controversy before.  Well, is Iran a rational actor?  At the risk of offending a great many the answer is yes.  “What,” I hear you gasp,” but they are Islamic fundamentalists who would happily die just to kill some Jews.”

As a former colleague of mine, intimately familiar with the situation in Iran, put it (an I’m paraphrasing here) anyone who believes the mullahs leading the country are happy to die is nuts.  With oil prices constantly rising they are making money hand over fist and that’s what they’re goal is.  There is no way they would risk killing the goose laying the golden eggs, especially over the Palestinians.

These mullahs know that any nuclear strike against Iran, even conducted by an “unidentified group” would result in their destruction.  (As I side note I’ve always wondered why Israel has never made it clear to Iran’s nuclear “mentor”, North Korea that a strike against Israel would result in the disappearance of Pyongyang -  might make them think twice).

If this is so, why is Iran risking the world’s wrath over nuclear development?  At a conference 3 years ago at Hebrew University Israeli experts addressed the issue of a nuclear Iran and who it endangered.  The consensus seemed to be that once Iran develops the bomb it will turn its attentions toward the Gulf States.  Some of these states (especially Bahrain) are seen as part of Iran.  Imagine a situation where Iran invades Bahrain just as Saddam Hussein did to Kuwait, but this time the invader is armed with nukes.  The entire Gulf area, with all its oil reserves could come under Iranian domination.  That is the true danger of a nuclear armed Iran and why it is an international issue.

Yes Iran is rational, but that makes it no less dangerous.