Mike Pence claims Biden is rehabilitating the Iran nuclear deal

Republican 2024 hopeful attacks Biden administration in surprise Paris appearance

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 02 July 2023 15:17 EDT
Mike Pence says he would not pardon Jan 6 protesters

Former Vice President Mike Pence was a surprise guest this weekend at a rally in Paris, France, hosted by Iranian dissidents in support of overthrowing Iran’s regime.

Mr Pence, who’s running in the increasingly-crowded 2024 Republican primary, railed against the authoritarian government in Tehran and what he claimed were efforts by the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran, the US, and several European countries. That deal was abandoned by the Trump administration who accused Tehran of violating the deal “in spirit”.

“Now, a new administration is threatening to unravel all of the progress we made in marinalising the tyrannical regime in Tehran,” Mr Pence claimed.

“They are working overtime to restore the Iran Nuclear Deal, putting Tehran back on the fast track to obtaining nuclear weapons.” The Independent has reached out to the White House for comment on those comments.

He also claimed that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon in a year if sanctions were rolled back and the 2015 deal snapped back into place.

However, the Biden administration has shown no signs, at least publicly, of reigniting the abandoned agreement.

If there was any possibility of restarting Iran negotiations, those would now have likely hit a roadblock with the suspension of Rob Malley, Biden’s special envoy to Iran, over an internal State Department review into whether he mishandled classified material.

Sources with knowledge of the situation described Mr Malley as a proponent of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to The Independent.

The State Department has refused to confirm in recent weeks whether talks regarding the nuclear deal are ongoing, and has only said that Mr Malley’s status is under review.

Pence appeared at the annual event hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) just days after an unannounced visit to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The dissident group’s event went off without a hitch and was attended by thousands despite an initial refusal by the French government to allow the group a permit for an outdoor rally. That decision was later reversed by a French court.

Authorities had warned that the threat of a terror attack necessitated the rally’s cancelation. NCRI’s previous events in Paris have faced similar threats including in 2018 when a diplomat working for Iran’s government and three others were arrested and later convicted of a bomb plot.

The former vice president’s European trip comes as his bid for the White House has yet to clear double-digit levels of support in any major polling, though he is likely to qualify for at least one presidential debate.

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