Iran Reportedly Pleased by Hagel Nomination

According to CBS News, Iran has applauded President Obama’s decision to nominate Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Indeed, says CBS, Iran’s foreign minister is so pleased about the decision that he said the appointment made him “hopeful” that “the Pentagon would improve relations between Tehran and the U.S.”

CBS further reports that a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast, said that the nomination made Iran hope that there would be “practical changes” in the foreign policy of the United States that would improve the country’s standing in the eyes of Middle Eastern nations. Mehmanparast, says CBS, said that nations in the Middle Eastern region would “change their attitude” toward the US if it “respected their rights.”

According to Reuters and The Jerusalem Post, while Iran was heartened by news of Hagel’s appointment, Israel was not. They cite Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin as saying that Israel was “concerned, but not afraid of Hagel’s isolationist ideas.” Rivlin told news networks that Hagel’s nomination would have an effect, not just on Israel but on “but the global strategic balance of power.” On the other hand, he said, “one person does not a policy make.” He said, therefore, that the relationship between Israel and the United States would remain strong even if Hagel were appointed.

Hagel is expected to face a tough confirmation hearing. According to The Associated Press, both Democrats and Republicans are concerned about Hagel and “several skeptical democrats” are “reserving judgment” on Hagel’s nomination until he “explains his views on Israel and Iran.” AP also reports that Republicans in the senate voiced concern about Hagel’s positions on Israel and Iran. One of them, Republican Sen. David Vitter, said, “Given Chuck Hagel’s statements and actions on a nuclear Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, I think his confirmation would send exactly the wrong message to our allies and enemies alike.” Vitter said that Israel was the U.S.’s strongest ally in the Middle East and that it was already facing many threats and problems. Nominating Hagel as Defense Secretary, he said, would only make these things worse.

Yet AP also reports that Hagel denied that he had anti-Israel sympathies, saying, that there was “not one shred of evidence” to prove it and that he had never voted for “one senate vote that matters that hurt Israel.” According to The Jerusalem Post, Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, a former envoy to the United States agreed with Hagel saying, that he had met Hagel on many occasions and that “he certainly regards Israel as a true and natural US ally.”

Filed Under: Politics


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Miranda Flint About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda

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