Criticism mounts over Hagel’s Iran views amid connections to progressive foundation

Click photo to download. Caption: Chuck Hagel. Credit: U.S. Senate.

( Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel is facing criticism from conservative groups over his connection to the progressive Ploughshares Foundation.

The Ploughshares Foundation grants money to several leading progressive organizations, including National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the Center for American Progress (CAP) and J Street. Leaders for these groups have been outspoken supporters of the former Nebraska senator’s nomination.

These groups are considered to favor eliminating Iran sanctions sanctions on Iran and oppose military action against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Additionally, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the NIAC has been suspected by some of “concealing illicit ties to the Iranian regime.”

“On Iran, his presence in the Obama administration would inject a much-needed dose of clear-sighted realism and strategic thinking,” NIAC President Trita Parsi recently wrote in the Huffington Post, defending Hagel’s positions.

“The nomination of Chuck Hagel is alarming for the future of U.S. foreign policy,” said Saba Farzan, a senior fellow and head of Iran research at the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin, the Free Beacon reported. 

“At the forefront within the debate happening in the US’s capital is that groups like NIAC cheer for Mr. Hagel,” Farzan said.

Meanwhile, as the battle over Hagel’s confirmation heats up, conservative SuperPAC groups such as the newly formed Americans for a Strong Defense have launched a media blitz of their own in several states to urge voters to persuade their senators to oppose Hagel.

The ads slam Hagel as “anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-Israel,” according to the New York Times.

Hagel’s senate hearings are expected to commence in early February. 

Posted on January 28, 2013 .