Iran's foreign ministry issued a statement saying Tehran hopes that Chuck Hagel will change U.S. foreign policy towards Iran and "favor peace instead of warmongering."
Tehran's reaction followed U.S. media reports recalling Hagel's past position on Iran's controversial nuclear program. Hagel was likened to his Pentagon predecessor Robert Gates as he opposed U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities suspected of building a nuclear bomb.
Hagel also opposed economic sanctions against Iran when he was a senator and favored direct negotiations between Tehran and Washington to resolve the nuclear standoff.
Meanwhile, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz urged senior U.S. officials for a tougher line on Iran's nuclear activities during a visit to Washington on Monday.
Steinitz told reporters before his meetings with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other administration officials that it is time for U.S. President Barack Obama to issue Tehran an ultimatum to stop its nuclear activities.
The meeting between Steinitz and U.S. officials will be about addressing loopholes in and circumvention of sanctions against Iran.
President Obama nomination of Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary signals he's ready for a confirmation fight likely dominated by questions about Hagel's stands on Israel and Iran
Obama nomination of Chuck Hagel
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