Transcript: Sec. Gates and Sen. McCain

GATES: Well, I think -- I think we know it when we see it and we see it in Iraq. I think that success in Afghanistan looks a great deal like success in Iraq, in this respect, that the Afghan national security forces increasingly take the lead in protecting their own territory and going after the insurgents and protecting their own people.

We withdraw to an over watch situation and then we withdraw altogether.

STEPHANOPOULOS: This first required a surge in Iraq.

GATES: It did require a surge. And that's the issue that we will be looking at over the next several weeks -- the next couple of weeks or so, is do we have the right strategy?

And that includes the question of -- of is the -- is McChrystal's approach, in the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Central Command commander, the right approach?

And if so, then what -- what would be the additional resources involved?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me turn to Iran. The president has put Iran on notice that they're going to have to allow inspectors into this secret site which U.S. intelligence discovered for enriching uranium. President Ahmadinejad says that President Obama is mistaken and the United States owes Iran an apology.

Is Iran going to get one?

GATES: Not a chance.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what happens next?

The president has said that this site is not configured for peaceful purposes. Now, the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded -- of the U.S. government -- concluded that Iran had stopped its active nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Does the president's conclusion, that this site is not configured for peaceful purposes, mean that that intelligence estimate is no longer operative?

GATES: No, not necessarily. But what it does mean is that they had a covert site. They did not declare it. They didn't -- if -- if this were a peaceful nuclear program, why didn't they announce this site when they began to construct it?

Why didn't they allow IAEA inspectors in from the very beginning?

This -- this is part of a pattern of deception and lies on the part of the Iranians from the very beginning with respect to their nuclear program. So it's no wonder that world leaders think that they have ulterior motives, that they have a plan to go forward with nuclear weapons.

Otherwise, why would they do all this in such a deceptive manner?

STEPHANOPOULOS: U.S. intelligence had been tracking this site for quite some time before President Obama made it public.

Is this the only secret site that we know of?

GATES: Well, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to get into that. I would just say that we're watching very closely.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does the United States government believe that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program?

GATES: I think that -- my personal opinion is that the Iranians have the intention of having nuclear weapons. I think the question of whether they have made a formal decision to -- to move toward the development of nuclear weapons is -- is in doubt. STEPHANOPOULOS: The U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said a couple of weeks ago that Iran is closer to what he called break out capacity on developing a nuclear weapon.

What does that mean exactly?

And how much time -- if they do, indeed, have the intent, how much time do we have before Iran has a nuclear weapons capacity?

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