BRUSSELS (AP)–U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday he was “disappointed” by Turkey’s opposition to a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran because of its disputed nuclear program.
Gates also said intelligence estimates indicated that Iran could not produce a nuclear weapon for at least one to three years.
Turkey and Brazil were the only two council members to vote against the U.S.-backed measure Wednesday.
“I’ll be honest, I was disappointed in Turkey’s vote on Iranian sanctions.” Gates told reporters after a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers.
“That said, Turkey is a decades-long ally of the United States and a member of NATO (and) continues to play a critical part in the alliance.”
He noted that the United States and Turkey have a strong military relationship and that the U.S. maintains bases on Turkish territory.
“Allies don’t always agree on things,” Gates said. “But we move forward from here. We’ll just do that.”
He said intelligence estimates differed on the time needed for Iran’s to produce a nuclear device, “but that is different from weaponization or delivery system or anything like that.”
“But clearly them getting to the threshold of having weapons is what concerns everybody, and not the other things, and in that area I would say there is a range there from 1-3 years.”