The chief of Israel’s military, who has already claimed that he doubts Iran will develop nuclear bombs, now alleges that “other forces” may support or launch a military strike against the Islamic Republic themselves in order to discourage its nascent atomic program.

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Chief of Staff of Israel Defense Forces (IDF), did not identify the nations in question, but asserted on Thursday that these states are preparing their militaries for a potential attack on Iran.

“The [Israeli] military force is ready, Gantz told the Associated Press.

Not only our forces, but other forces as well. We all hope that there will be no necessity to use this force, but we are absolutely sure of its existence.”

Gantz had earlier stated that he believed international sanctions will force Iran to give up its atomic ambitions – a position that puts him in opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, both of whom have repeatedly issued hawkish and alarmist declarations against Iran’s nuclear threat.

Iran has insisted that it is developing nuclear power solely for peaceful purposes – an assertion that Israel, the U.S. and European Union find ludicrous given a report late last year by the United Nations’ watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran is indeed seeking to build atomic weapons.

In response, the U.S. and some other western states have applied severe economic sanctions on Iran and its key oil industry, as the war of words between east and west have intensified.

But Netanyahu said earlier this week that sanctions have failed to pressure Iran into relinquishing its nuclear program, again raising the specter of a military strike.

 [Sanctions] haven't rolled back the Iranian program or even stopped it by one iota, Netanyahu told CNN.