Iran’s state-run Press TV praised President Barack Obama for his likely selection of the “anti-Israel” former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department, according to a report published Saturday.
“All signs indicate that U.S. President Barack Obama is poised to nominate anti-Israel ex-Senator Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary soon,” reported Press TV, a news outlet that is controlled by the Iranian regime.
“Hagel’s nomination is expected to spark a row in the Senate,” the report continued. “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 U.S. political arena.”
Hagel has long advocated for direct, unconditional talks with Iran as well as with the terror group Hamas.
Hagel in 2008 was reported to be “solely responsible” for blocking a bill that would have tightened economic sanctions in Iran, according to the Huffington Post.
He also voted against renewing the Iran Sanctions Libya Act in 2001. The measure would have prevented Iran and Libya from securing funds that would have been used to acquire weapons of mass destruction and support terrorist operations.
Hagel was just one of two Senators to vote against the act.
Multiple Jewish leaders and lawmakers have additionally criticized Hagel for comments they believe are anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.
Hagel has faced sharp criticism from Jewish communal organizations for 2008 comments in which he state that the so-called “Jewish lobby” intimidates lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The Anti-Defamation League’s executive director Abraham Foxman and others have termed this language as anti-Semitic.
Hagel also is said to have offended Jewish leaders in 1989 when, as the head of the USO, he campaigned to close down a popular USO port in the Israeli city of Haifa.
“He said to me, ‘Let the Jews pay for it’,” according to Marsha Halteman, director for military and law enforcement programs at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which led the battle to keep USO Haifa operational.
The Free Beaon reported Sunday that the newly installed Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) has become the latest in a long line of lawmakers to proclaim that they would vote against Hagel should be nominated by the president.