Iran is not yet "nuclear capable" and the US government has not concluded that it is inevitable that Tehran will get the bomb, Pentagon chief Robert Gates said in remarks aired on Sunday.
"It is our judgment ... they are not nuclear capable, not yet," said Gates, the US defense secretary.
Asked if the US government had concluded this was inevitable, Gates said, "No. We have not ... drawn that conclusion at all, and in fact we are doing everything we can to try and keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons."
Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said President Barack Obama's new nuclear pact with Russia, signed this past week, reflects the rapidly changing nature of the nuclear threat.
Clinton said there's a serious threat that nuclear materials could fall into the hands of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.
As for Iran's nuclear ambitions, Gates says it will take a combination of economic pressure, better missile defense and cooperation with Mideast countries to rein in Tehran.
Gates and Clinton made the comments in interviews broadcast Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," CBS's "Face the Nation" and ABC's "This Week."
Reuters and AP contributed to the report