Former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday spoke to Iranian anti-regime activists in Washington, D.C., and warned that the Biden administration’s efforts to re-enter the embattled 2015 nuclear deal would pave a path “in gold” to a nuclear weapon.
Pence spoke at an event held in the nation’s capital by the Organization for Iranian-American Communities, which calls for a democratic, secular, non-nuclear Iranian republic, and hailed the Trump administration’s maximum pressure policy toward the regime in Tehran.
That administration abandoned the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and re-imposed sanctions that had been lifted as part of the accord and also took out top General Qasem Soleimani in an air strike.
The Biden administration has changed course and has sought to re-enter the deal with Iran, and talks were revived in Vienna in 2021. However, those talks faltered last year amid what the U.S. blamed on intransigence from the regime — now led by hardline President Ebrahim Raisi. However, the administration has not abandoned the intent to re-enter the deal.
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“On the day we left office, the Iranian regime was more isolated than ever before,” Pence recounted, but he said that the Biden administration is “threatening to unravel all of the progress we made in marginalizing the tyrannical regime in Tehran.”
Pence called the push to re-engage on the deal, including waiving sanctions, “ill-advised and unwise” and said that a new deal would not solve the instability in the Middle East or stop the regime’s ambitions for a nuke.
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“A renewed nuclear deal won’t lead to peace and stability. It will lead to more terrorism, death and destruction, and destabilize the region,” he said. “A renewed deal won’t block Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb, it will pave it in gold.”
The regime has been rocked by months of protests across the country in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by morality police for not covering her head. Pence said the regime was weaker than it ever had been and that the resistance movement is stronger than it ever had been, describing it as “an engine for change from within during the uprisings and continued protests.”
Pence also called for the prosecution of Raisi, who has been tied to human rights abuses, including the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988.
“He must be removed from office by the people of Iran and prosecuted for crimes against humanity and genocide,” he said.
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Pence’s speech marks the latest sign of support from Washington, D.C., for the resistance movement. Pence has previously visited the base of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Albania, and this week lawmakers announced that a majority in the House now back a resolution backing the movement’s goals.
Ahead of Pence, NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi said that the situation in Iran would never return to how it was before the uprising.
“The regime has become weaker and faces more defections,” she said. “It cannot prevent the explosive situation, because that needs fundamental reforms, which will in turn lead to the regime’s overthrow.”