Iran speech offers insight into Pence’s foreign policy
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday sharply criticized what he called the Biden administration’s “weakness” in foreign policy, criticizing the administration’s “disastrous withdrawal” from Afghanistan and arguing that ” The White House’s appeasement of Iran backfires.
In a speech to a prominent Iranian organization in exile that advocates for regime change and had sympathizers in the Trump administration, Pence gave a glimpse of what his own foreign policy will look like if he runs. to the presidency in 2024.
“Peace is only possible through strength,” the former vice president said, saying Mr Biden has invited instability in the Middle East and beyond as “opponents of freedom feel the weakness of the American administration” and are “emboldened to test our resolve.”
While stressing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible – and “must be held accountable” – for the invasion of Ukraine, Mr Pence claimed that the Biden administration’s reckless foreign policy moves exacerbated the crisis.
“There is no doubt that the tip of the hat to the regime in Tehran, the reopening of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Russia, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan sent a message that emboldened those who would use violence to perpetrate their political goals. , ” he said. “Weakness breeds evil and the rise of evil in Iran and around the world speaks to the weakness projected by the current US administration.”
Mr Pence, who broke with President Trump over the fallout from the 2020 election, traveled to Albania to deliver to the headquarters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. The Iranian splinter group is also known as Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which claims to have an extensive network of agents.
SEE ALSO: No deal from White House meeting with Big Oil, executives hope talks still send ‘positive signal’
Mr Pence’s visit came about a month after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a similar appearance at MEK headquarters. John R. Bolton, for a time national security adviser to President Trump, and Trump’s former personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani are among those who have also spoken at MEK rallies and called for a regime change in Tehran.
President Trump has never publicly endorsed the policy. However, he has taken a hard line against Tehran by repudiating the 2018 Iran nuclear deal, reimposing harsh sanctions on the Iranian economy and allowing the 2020 US drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani, senior Iranian military commander.
The Biden administration has partially reversed course, scrambling for 18 months to try to restore the nuclear deal, which had lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for a promise of limits on its nuclear program. Proponents of the 2015 deal say Iran has only come closer to obtaining nuclear weapons since the United States left the deal.
But Biden’s efforts to rebalance the relationship have been met with bipartisan pushback in Congress, including from such prominent Democrats as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez.
Mr Pence took an even tougher stance on Thursday, saying ‘appeasement has never worked and will never work’ and that the administration is wrong to ‘reaccept’ a deal which he says gave the regime Iranian money from sanctions relief while not responding. the regime’s support for terrorism.
“A renewed nuclear deal with Iran will not lead to peace and stability. It will lead to more terrorism, death and destruction,” Pence said. “[It] will not block Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb, it will pave the way for gold, and a renewed nuclear deal with Iran will not benefit the Iranian people in any way. This will only strengthen and enrich a corrupt regime that has tormented and tortured the Iranian people for generations. »
“We call on the Biden administration to stand with the people of Iran, to champion the cause of freedom and justice…to immediately withdraw from all nuclear negotiations with Tehran, to express support for the organized opposition in Iran and to make it clear that America and our allies will never allow the regime in Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon.