Iranian opinion-makers on Thursday welcomed the resignation of the US secretary of defense and the Republican Party's losses in Congress, saying the two events could reduce the chances of a confrontation with the United States over Iran's contentious nuclear program. The new Democratic majority in Congress will choose to negotiate with Iran, said a liberal political scientist at Tehran University. State radio was particularly sharp in its view of the ousted defense secretary, saying Donald Rumsfeld had been a "symbol of stupidity and unilateralism" and his downfall reflected "America's defeat in Iraq, the end of the era of neo-conservatives and the failure of America's war policy - of which Rumsfeld was the architect." Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said the Republicans' electoral defeat "might soften the US warmongering policy in the region". In the elections, the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives and, by unofficial count, the Senate as well.