Gates: New Iran sanctions would be a 'serious mistake'

Former US defence secretary Robert Gates has told HARDtalk it would be a "serious mistake" to impose additional sanctions on Iran while negotiations over the country's nuclear programme were ongoing.

He was responding to a question over whether it would be in the US's interest to impose new, tougher sanctions immediately as called for by some members of the US Congress.

But Mr Gates said new sanctions, if the negotiations failed, could "strengthen the president's hand."

"The message needs to be sent to Iran that the failure of the negotiations does not just produce the status quo ante, but in fact will lead to conditions in Iran becoming more difficult," he said.

You can watch the full interview on BBC World News on Thursday 16 January at 16:30 and 21:30 GMT. It can also be seen on the BBC News Channel at 00:30 and 04:30 GMT on Friday 17 January and Saturday 18 January at 00:30 GMT.

Watch more clips at HARDtalk's website