Iran fears U.S. attack in summer: Israeli general

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Iran is making defensive preparations for what it fears will be a U.S. military attack this summer, Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Sunday.

Major-General Amos Yadlin also told the Israeli cabinet that Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas and Syria believed they could be targeted in any U.S.-initiated war against Iran, an Israeli government official said, briefing reporters on his remarks.

“What we are seeing is their preparation for the possibility of war in the summer. My assessment is that they are defensive preparations for war,” Yadlin was quoted as saying, referring to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

The government official said Yadlin spoke about Iranian fears of a U.S., not an Israeli, offensive.

The official gave no details about the type of military preparations Yadlin said Iran was making to meet any U.S. attack.

“We are closely monitoring these preparations because (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah) could misinterpret various moves in the region,” Yadlin said, according to the official.

In Washington on Thursday, UnderSecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the United States was “convinced diplomacy is the way to proceed” to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Burns told the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee that Washington did not believe conflict with Tehran was inevitable.

The U.N. Security Council widened sanctions against Iran on March 24 after it defied a second deadline to stop enriching uranium, a process Tehran says will yield solely electricity but world powers fear could be used to build atomic weapons.

Washington and London also accuse Iran of supporting insurgents fighting their forces in Iraq.