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Ahmadinejad Says Expects US to Attack MidEast Soon

Robin Pomeroy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens to a question during a news conference in Tehran June 28, 2010. Ahmadinejad said Iran had "very precise information that the Americans have hatched a plot" to launch a military strike on at least two Middle Eastern countries. (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)

TEHRAN - 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.

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 program 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 criticized 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, 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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