Chuck Hagel
Photo: MCT
Iran says it's hopeful on Hagel nomination
Tehran says Hagel's appointment as US defense secretary could improve relations between Iran and US; expects 'practical changes' to US policy

Iran's Foreign Ministry says it is hopeful the appointment of former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon would improve relations between Tehran and the US.


Asked about Hagel's nomination, ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that Tehran was hopeful that there would be "practical changes" to US foreign policy, and that nations would change their attitude towards the US if it respected their rights.


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Hagel was nominated Monday and faces tough confirmation hearings. Critics have said he is hostile toward Israel and soft on Iran.


Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic relations since 1979 when Iranian militants stormed the US embassy and took American diplomats hostages.


Tensions have spiked over America's belief that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.


Shortly after being nominated as the next US secretary of defense, Hagel said his record shows "unequivocal, total support for Israel," insisting that critics have misrepresented his views on the Jewish state.


In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, Hagel also dismissed claims that he was soft on Iran.




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