LONDON (AFP) – US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday he expects new United Nations sanctions on Iran over its atomic programme to be agreed “very soon”.
Speaking hours before the UN Security Council was set to resume to discuss a draft resolution, he said it was not too late to prevent Iran from securing a nuclear bomb.
“I’m optimistic a resolution will be passed very soon,” Gates told a press conference in London after talks with British Defence Secretary Liam Fox, when asked about diplomatic efforts in New York.
“The faster it can be passed the better,” he added.
On Iran’s alleged efforts to develop an atomic bomb, he said: “I don’t think we’ve lost the opportunity to stop the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons.
But he called for international cooperation in dealing with the Islamic republic, warning: “The clock is ticking.”
The UN Security Council was to hold fresh talks later Tuesday on a fourth sanctions resolution against Iran over its atomic programme which the West fears is a cover for nuclear weapons.
The sponsors of the bill are aiming to hold a vote later this week.
Gates spoke before a high-ranking Russian official close to the talks said in Moscow that the latest UN sanctions resolution against Iran had been fully agreed and no problems remained ahead of its adoption.