U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) told a Jewish audience that the United States should engage Iran. Hagel, the most strident anti-Iraq war critic in the Republican Party and a potential presidential candidate, addressed the Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum in Washington on Monday. “By refusing to engage with Iran, we are perpetuating dangerous geopolitical unpredictabilities,” Hagel said. “Our refusal to recognize Iranâ€™s influence does not decrease its influence, but increases it.” The Bush administration, backed by much of the pro-Israel community, rejects deep engagement as long as Iran does not come clean about its nuclear ambitions. Hagel was well received at the plenum, which formulates Jewish community policy through national consensus.
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