Iran says it's hopeful on Hagel nomination

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Foreign Ministry says it is hopeful the appointment of former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon would improve relations between Tehran and the U.S.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said today that Tehran was hopeful that there would be “practical changes” to U.S. foreign policy, and that nations would change their attitude towards the U.S. if it respected their rights.

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

Meanwhile, an Iranian news agency says the country’s coast guard has seized two Saudi fishing boats after they allegedly strayed into Iranian waters.

Today’s report by the semiofficial Fars agency quotes the local coast guard commander in southern Iranian port of Bushehr as saying the guard detained all 10 of the boat’s crew members, all Indian nationals.

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