July 27, 2010 / 10:45 AM / 7 years ago

Ahmadinejad says expects U.S. to attack MidEast soon

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran expects the United States to launch a military strike on “at least two countries” in the Middle East in the next three months, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state-run Press TV.

<p>EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during an anti-chemical weapon ceremony in Tehran June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl</p>

In an interview recorded on Monday, Ahmadinejad did not specify whether he thought Iran itself would be attacked nor did he say what intelligence led him to expect such a move.

The United States and Israel have refused to rule out military action against Iran’s nuclear programme which they fear could lead to it making a bomb, something Iran denies.

“They have decided to attack at least two countries in the region in the next three months,” Ahmadinejad said in excerpts broadcast on the rolling news channel on Tuesday.

Israel, which refuses to confirm or deny the existence of its own nuclear arsenal, has a history of pre-emptive strikes against suspected nuclear targets. In 1981 it destroyed Iraq’s only nuclear reactor and in 2007 bombed a suspect site in Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran “the ultimate terrorist threat”. His deputy, Moshe Yaalon, has said Israel had improved military capability which could be used against foes in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria or Iran.

Ahmadinejad said Iran had “very precise information that the Americans have hatched a plot, according to which they to wage a psychological war against Iran.”

He also criticised the U.S.-led drive for international sanctions to pressure Tehran over the nuclear issue.

The European Union agreed a new round of economic sanctions on Monday, including a block on oil and gas investment [ID:nLDE66P10R], following a similar move by Washington and a fourth round of U.N. sanctions.

“The logic that they can persuade us to negotiate through sanctions is just a failure,” Ahmadinejad said.

Editing by Jon Hemming

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