“Iran’s Foreign Ministry appears to be backing President Barack Obama’s pick of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as secretary of defense,” reports the AP and CBS News. “Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in an interview Tuesday that he hopes the Hagel nomination will improve relations between the United States and Tehran. ‘We hope there will be practical changes in American foreign policy and that Washington becomes respectful of the rights of nations,’ Mehmanparast said, according to Reuters. Hagel has previously criticized discussion of a military strike by either the U.S. or Israel against Iran and spoken of the influence of the ‘Jewish lobby’ on Congress. He also has backed efforts to bring Iran to the table for talks on future peace in Afghanistan.”
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