Iran is disturbed by threats emanating from Israel to strike its nuclear sites and takes such threats seriously, a senior Iran expert told The Jerusalem Post.

The past few days have been dominated by media headlines on a possible Israeli strike, with several reports claiming that a strike is imminent and could come within weeks. Iran has been busy fortifying its air defenses and moving parts of the uranium enrichment program to underground sites to make them immune to an Israeli strike.

“Iran is making preparations for an attack, though they are not discussing this,” Ephraim Kam, deputy director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, told the Post on Sunday. For a while now, Iran has been warning that anyone who strikes their nuclear program will fail in their mission, and that Iran’s reply will be enormously harsh. “It shows a certain nervousness, a desire to deter Israel,” Kam said. “They’re taking an Israeli strike into consideration, and are disturbed by it.”

Asked if the ongoing rhetoric regarding a potential Israeli strike could either speed up or slow down Iran’s efforts to move closer to nuclear weapons, Kam said Tehran was showing no indication of freezing its program.

“I don’t think they will freeze it. If they would, we’d see a change in their approach. But they’ve been making progress up until now,” Kam said. If anything, the talk of an Iran strike “could make them speed up their efforts, since they fear an attack, and could want to make the program as ready as they can beforehand,” Kam added.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

Former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit told Channel Two on Friday that he did not trust American assurances that Washington would stop Iran from going nuclear.

Shavit said that Israel could only trust itself when it came to its own fate. Also on Friday, the Yediot Aharonot daily carried a front-cover story saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were seeking to launch a strike against Iran this coming fall. The report claimed that the prime minister and the defense minister were encountering stiff resistance to the idea of ordering the strike now from military and intelligence chiefs.

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