Iran Hopes Hagel Appointment Will Mark Policy Change

Category: Politics / Jan 08, 2013 3:07PM EDT
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman hopes for changes to US foreign policy under U.S. President Barack Obama's choice for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, whose record on Iran and Israel is under scrutiny. Israel, which receives around $3 billion a year in U.S. defense grants, has at times challenged the Obama administration by threatening preemptive war against the disputed Iranian nuclear program while world powers pursue talks with Tehran. Iran's foreign ministry said on Tuesday (January 8) it hoped Hagel's appointment would change U.S. policy and make Washington "more respectful of the rights of nations". "We are hopeful practical changes can be made to US foreign policy. This could be in the US foreign policy and that the approach of American officials would be in line with respecting the people's rights," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparat told a Tehran news conference. Many Republicans say Hagel, who left the Senate in 2008, at times opposed Israel's interests. He voted repeatedly against U.S. sanctions on Iran and made disparaging remarks about the influence of what he called a "Jewish lobby" in Washington. -Reuters