Former Sen. Chuck Hagel argued for incorporating economic development in Iran into U.S. foreign policy in a 2009 “Morning Joe” appearance:
MIKE BARNICLE: Given Iran’s geography, given its geopolitical importance and, you just mentioned up top, that we are indeed in a global economic crisis. How does the global economic crisis, as it affects Iran, help us?
CHUCK HAGEL: Well, I have always believed, Mike, that it’s kind of like a deal that you make with any situation in life—everybody has to get something out of it. What you do is drive to the core of the common interest of a country. We have some common interests with Iran. For example, Afghanistan; when we first invaded Afghanistan, we worked very closely with Iran in the first year and a half, two years, on intelligence sharing and gathering on that border for a lot of reasons—it wasn’t because they supported the United States, it was in their interest. And to your question, on the economics, their position, their geopolitical position, especially with the resources they have in oil and natural gas, they need development, they need investment, they need incentivizing, all of that. There are ways to work that into the more comprehensive strategic foreign policy for both countries, and the region.