US Senator Mark Kirk on Friday announced that he would not back Chuck Hagel for the Secretary of Defense position.

"During yesterday's confirmation hearing, Senator Hagel instinctively called the Iranian government both elected and legitimate," he said. "He initially offered strong support for containment of Iran, rather than President Obama's stated policy of preventing an Iranian nuclear breakout.  He could not clearly explain his past opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran – opposition as recent as 2008.  And at no time did he state his position on whether the European Union should formally designate Iran's terror proxy, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization – a critical step to cut off the flow of funds to a group responsible for the murders of some 280 American citizens."

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Though declaring "appreciation" for Hagel's record of service to the US, Kirk said he would not support his nomination for the prestigious and influential US position.