The United States has said that Iran is taking a "step backward" on US-led efforts to end its international isolation by appointing terror suspect Ahmad Vahidi as defence minister.
"Rather than taking a step forward to engage" the world, it is "taking a step backward by putting into a high office" a man suspected of bombing a Jewish charity in Argentina, the State Department's PJ Crowley said.
Vahidi, wanted by Interpol for a 1994 attack on a Jewish charity that killed 85 people, was overwhelmingly endorsed Thursday by the parliament in Tehran as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's pick for defence minister.
Crowley, the US assistant secretary of state for public affairs, told reporters at the daily briefing that the United States has "been awaiting a message from Iran... that they want to shift, take a new approach.
Washington has been hoping Iran would engage the world "to help to move forward to resolve the questions that we have about their behaviour and including their well-known state-sponsorship of terrorism," he said.
"We find today's action disturbing and we think that for Iran it is sending precisely, you know, the wrong message," he said.
"And we certainly support Argentina's efforts to bring justice to the perpetrators of the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association of Buenos Aires, and we will continue to support that," he said.