independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Iran hopes that new Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel will soften US stance

IRAN'S foreign ministry said it hoped the appointment of Chuck Hagel as the next U.S. defence secretary would lead to "practical changes" in Washington's foreign policy.

Iran and the United States, adversaries for more than three decades, are at odds over many issues, including the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme, which western countries say is aimed at forging a nuclear arms capability. Tehran denies this

"We hope there will be practical changes in American foreign policy and that Washington becomes respectful of the rights of nations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly news conference.

He was answering a question about Hagel's views on Israel and U.S. sanctions on Iran. Israel has threatened military action against its arch-enemy's nuclear sites if sanctions-backed diplomacy fails to rein in Tehran's atomic work. Mehmanparast did not elaborate.

Hagel is expected to face a tough confirmation fight amid accusations that he has anti-Israel views and has previously urged direct nuclear talks between the United States and Iran.

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