Iran state media hails 'anti-Israeli' Hagel appointment

Obama has defended Hagel as a patriot, yet Iran state media has lauded his potential appointment, presumably given his dovish credentials and rumoured hostility to Israel

by The Commentator on 7 January 2013 11:35


The arm of the Iranian state media known as Press TV has hailed the potential Obama appointment of former Senator Chuck Hagel to the position of US Defense Secretary.

Hagel’s views on foreign affairs and US diplomatic relations, especially with the State of Israel, have recently been called into question, with newly elected Senator Ted Cruz most recently claiming that he opposes Hagel’s nomination.

For weeks, speculation surrounding Hagel’s appointment has been the subject of many internecine discussions on Capitol Hill. President Obama is expected to put Hagel’s name forward today, despite the former Republican Senator’s ‘dovish credentials’.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN, “This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel”.

Hagel once reportedly said, “Let the Jews pay for it” in reference to a popular USO port located in the Israeli city of Haifa in addition to claiming that the so-called “Jewish lobby” intimidates lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He has also been criticised for being ‘soft’ on the Iranian nuclear question, with many arguing that Hagel would be quick to take the military option off the table.

It comes as no surprise therefore, that PressTV, owned by the Iranian state broadcasting company, has lauded Obama’s decision, running the headline, “Obama to name anti-Israeli Hagel as Defense Secretary”.

Press TV writes: “Many pro-Israeli groups and neo-conservatives have spouted diatribe against Hagel over his criticism of Washington’s anti-Iran policies and Israel’s sway over the US political arena.”

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may already be preparing to go to war with the White House over the appointment. He told ABC’s This Week programme that “any defense nominee must have "a full understanding of our close relationship with our Israeli allies, the Iranian threat, and the importance of having a robust military."

The Obama administration has defended Hagel as a ‘patriot’ and cited the fact that he would be the first enlisted solider and Vietnam veteran to be Secretary of Defense.

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