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Obama, Hagel, and Iran

12:00 AM, Jan 8, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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Obama and Hagel solicited Karzai’s opinion of Afghanistan’s western neighbor. Karzai began his reply by saying we try to engage them, talk to them; however, the current Iranian regime ‘suspects our relationship with you.’ Obama asked if the Iranians had caused problems for Afghanistan. “Yes,” Karzai repled, “we’ve confirmed reports they supplied weapons to the Taliban. National Directorate for Security (NDS) chief Saleh added that three weeks ago, NDS had arrested “an agent of the Iranian consulate in Kandahar” who had been training the Taliban in the use of landmines.

Hagel’s views on Iran put him to Obama’s left. Although the president has made clear that he doesn’t want war with Iran, and that’s he is open to direct talks, he has never ruled out the military option, as his Defense nominee has. And while Obama was an enthusiastic supporter of direct talks with Iran, he never went so far as propose a U.S. “interest section” in Tehran as a way to advance our interests.

Iran is closer to the bomb. The regime has continued its support for terrorists targeting Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iranian government, according to the Obama administration, has a secret agreement with al Qaeda to allow the shipment of money and fighters on Iranian territory – what one official called the “core pipeline” for al Qaeda.

Does Hagel still believe the military option should be off the table? Does he think the United States ought to open an interest section in Tehran to advance our interests?

What, if anything, does Chuck Hagel think the United States should do about Iran?

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