x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Iran hopeful of 'practical changes' to US policy with Hagel appointment

Iran's foreign ministry said it is hopeful the man to lead the Pentagon would improve relations between Tehran and the United States.

TEHRAN // Iran's foreign ministry said it is hopeful the appointment of former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon would improve relations between Tehran and the United States.

Asked about Mr Hagel's nomination, the ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that Tehran was hopeful that there would be "practical changes" to US foreign policy, and that nations would change their attitude towards the US if it respected their rights.

Mr Hagel was nominated yesterday and faces tough confirmation hearings. Critics have said he is hostile toward Israel and soft on Iran.

Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic relations since 1979 when Iranian militants stormed the US embassy and took American diplomats hostages.

Tensions have spiked over America's belief that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.