Daily Israel Report

Hagel: Willing to Attack Iran if Necessary

Hagel writes to Senate: There is time and space for diplomacy with Iran, but the window is closing.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/31/2013, 5:12 AM

Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel
Reuters

President Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, has said he would be willing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, if such an attack is required.

In written responses he submitted ahead of his confirmation hearing at the Senate on Thursday, Hagel assured that the United States would maintain an "unshakeable" commitment to Israel's security and voiced support for Obama's position that no options should be taken off the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“If confirmed, I will focus intently on ensuring that (the) U.S. military is in fact prepared for any contingency,” Hagel wrote.

“If Iran continues to flout its international obligations, it should continue to face severe and growing consequences,” he added. “While there is time and space for diplomacy, backed by pressure, the window is closing. Iran needs to demonstrate it is prepared to negotiate seriously.”

According to Hagel’s response, he will continue to implement the “smart, unprecedented and effective sanctions against the Iranian regime” that Congress and the Obama administration have adopted in recent years.

The Republican Jewish Coalition, along with countless others, has cited a long list of Hagel’s anti-Israel policies, asserting that his nomination would “be a slap in the face for every American who is concerned about the safety of Israel.”

Hagel has also been portrayed as being soft on Iran and being against sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Sen. Lindsey Graham has said that Hagel as Secretary of Defense would be "the most antagonistic Secretary of Defense toward the state of Israel" in U.S. history.

Hagel recently claimed that there is "not one shred of evidence that I'm anti-Israeli, not one (Senate) vote that matters that hurt Israel."

"I didn't sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were counter-productive and didn't solve a problem," he said.

He also said, “I have not supported unilateral sanctions [against Iran] because when it is us alone they don't work and they just isolate the United States. United Nations sanctions are working. When we just decree something, that doesn't work.”

At the same time, in recently revealed comments Hagel made staggering accusations against Israel, alleging that the Jewish state is keeping the “Palestinians caged up like animals.”