US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates voiced doubt Saturday that a deal with Iran on sending some of its uranium abroad for enrichment was close. "I don't have the sense we are close to an agreement," Gates told reporters in Ankara. "If Iran has decided to accept the proposal of the P5-plus-one, they should do that to the IAEA", he added, according to the AFP.
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the Munich Security conference in Germany that Tehran was "serious" about sending some uranium abroad for enrichment and that a final deal was near.
"Now I hear they're offering some kind of other deal on the research reactor. My view is, that's a discussion that the Iranians would better hold with the IAEA than at the Munich conference or in press conferences by president Ahmadenijad if they are prepared to take up the original proposal," Gates said.
According to him, Iran should not waste time in accepting the proposal if it was serious.
"There is more and more low enriched uranium produced. So if they are willing to accept the P5-plus-one proposal, it logically dictates that it should be as soon as possible," the US Secretary said. "The reality is, the longer that this goes on and the longer they continue to enrich, the value of the Tehran research proposal as a reassurance to the international community diminishes," he warned.