Politics
Then-Sen. Chuck Hagel (C) is pictured with Rutgers professor Hooshang Amirahmadi (L) and then-Iranian UN Representative Mohammad Javad Sharif (R) at a 2007 event. (Photo courtesy of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran) Then-Sen. Chuck Hagel (C) is pictured with Rutgers professor Hooshang Amirahmadi (L) and then-Iranian UN Representative Mohammad Javad Sharif (R) at a 2007 event. (Photo courtesy of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran)  

Supporter of Iranian dictatorship brought Chuck Hagel to Rutgers University for 2007 speech

As early as 2008, Amirahmadi was revealed to be a supporter of the Iranian regime who received its backing. He traveled to Tehran to ask for additional support from the government, telling the government-funded newspaper Etemad on November 12, 2008 that “there is a clash between various regional [Middle East] lobbies. Israelites will gather around Obama. Arabs will also spend their money to get close to Obama. Iranian rights are [the] subject of unkind hostility in Tehran.”

He explicitly called for more financial help immediately after President Obama’s first presidential election.

“Iranian leaders should pay attention to what is going on, and strengthen their friends.  They should have confidence in, energize, and trust their friends so they enter the arena.  This is very important,” Amirahmadi said then.

“Therefore the next two or three months are the time to conquer Obama’s heart and mind and that of his teams. Anyone who acts faster will rest trouble-free for the next eight years. Anyone who does not go to that bazaar [marketplace] now will have a tough time entering that bazaar in future.”

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has repeatedly asked why Hagel’s financial disclosure forms do not reflect all the money he received for what Hagel concedes are hundreds of speeches he has given in the past five years.

It is unlikely, however, that Hagel received an honorarium for his 2007 speech at Rutgers, and more likely that he delivered the speech to articulate policy positions. In its publicity materials, Rutgers touted him as a “potential presidential candidate” in 2008, and said he would “address war, diplomacy, [and the] state of the Middle East.”

U.S. senators have been prohibited from accepting speaking honoraria since 1991, according to a 2013 report titled “Congressional Salaries and Allowances” from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

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