Defense chief disputes deal on Iran's nuke program

ANKARA: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is dismissing comments by the Iranian government that it's nearing a deal with the international community on its nuclear program.

Gates says that based on the information he has, he doesn't believe an agreement is close. He says that if Iran is serious it would be working through the International Atomic Energy Agency to hand over its enriched uranium.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (mah-noo-CHAYR' moh-tah-KEE') suggested this week at a security conference in Munich that he believes Tehran is nearing a final agreement on its nuclear program. The comment came as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE'-neh-zhahd) announced a plan to give the West its low-enriched uranium and takie it back several months later when it is enriched by 20 percent.

Gates said Saturday he sought to underscore the threat Iran poses in meetings this week with Turkish officials.