This morning, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Republican Senator and rising party star Kelly Ayotte (NH) cited Iranian propaganda in explaining her opposition to President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.
“I have not made up my mind,” Ayotte began, before warning that Hagel has not expressed sufficient commitment to using military force against Iran if it develops nuclear weapons. She then pointed to Iranian propaganda, noting that the country “reacted favorably” to his nomination:
AYOTTE: Iran, this week, kind of reacted favorably somewhat. There were statements that were favorable to his nomination, in fact, they said they were hopeful that with his nomination, they hoped that we would change our policies. What I want to make sure is that Iran is actually not hopeful, but they are fearful as a result of our nominee from a Secretary of Defense perspective, because I think that will cause them to stop marching toward acquiring a nuclear weapon, not hope that we’ll change our policies, they need to change their policies.
On Tuesday, the Iranians responded to the Hagel nomination and used it to take a backhanded slap at the United States, saying, “We hope there will be practical changes in American foreign policy and that Washington becomes respectful of the rights of nations.” Unfortunately, neo-conservatives — desperate to derail Hagel — jumped on the propaganda from Iran’s foreign ministry to make their case.
Hagel has warned against the consequences of war with Iran, but has stated that his position is “fully consistent with the policy of presidents for more than a decade of keeping all options on the table, including the use of military force, thereby increasing pressure on Iran while working toward a political solution.” As a senator, Hagel also voted in favor of several rounds of targeted sanctions against Iran including packages in 1998, 2000, and 2006.