In two speeches, Vice President Mike Pence urged European countries to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. “The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve,” he said on February 14 in Warsaw at the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. Pence also accused Britain, France and Germany of trying to “break” American sanctions against Iran by setting up the Special Purpose Vehicle, a mechanism to facilitate trade in humanitarian goods. “It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the E.U. and create still more distance between Europe and the United States,” he warned.
Pence reiterated the same message on February 16 at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of world leaders, military officers and security experts. “The time has come for our European partners to stop undermining U.S. sanctions against this murderous revolutionary regime,” he told the group. The following are excerpted remarks from the Warsaw summit and the Munich Security Conference.
Remarks at the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East
Since day one of our administration, President Trump promised to stand with the good people of Iran and stand up to their oppressors – and that’s just what we have done. And President Trump kept his word when he withdrew the United States of America from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.
The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action did not prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It merely delayed the day when that vile regime would gain access to the world’s deadliest weapons.
And remarkably, the universal view of those who spoke last night at this conference was that Iran has actually become more aggressive since the JCPOA was signed, not less.
The United States re-imposed sanctions that should never have been lifted in the first place and launched a new campaign to prevent the regime from financing its trademark terror and destruction around the world.
And since then, the UAE has canceled its imports of Iranian condensate. Bahrain is exposing the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps proxies active in its country, and is working to stop Iran’s illicit maritime activities in the region. And countries across the globe are working toward cutting Iranian oil imports to zero.
But sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative – in fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions.
They call this scheme a “Special Purpose Vehicle.” We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime. It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the United States.
Some argue that Iran is in technical compliance with the narrow terms of the deal. But compliance is not the issue; the deal is the issue.
Today, America’s economic sanctions on Iran are the toughest in history and will get tougher still unless and until Iran changes its dangerous and destabilizing behavior. As President Trump said, “There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction. Let it end now.”
The time has come for our European partners to stand with us and the Iranian people … to stand with our allies and friends in the region. The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve.
We must not let this opportunity slip from our hands. In June 2009, after the Iranian regime stole an election to maintain its grip on power, the previous administration refused to raise its voice when the Iranian people took to the streets in what came to be known as the Green Movement. It wasn’t until the Congress acted that the United States declared its support for the Iranian people.
As a member of Congress, it was my privilege to introduce a bipartisan resolution that passed overwhelmingly to show the support of the American people. Only then did the administration follow. But soon, the ayatollahs and their henchmen used the cover of the world’s timidity to murder, imprison, and terrify freedom-loving Iranians.
The world missed an opportunity last time to confront the regime, but not this time. This time, all of us must stand strong. As Iran’s economy continues to plummet, as the people of Iran take to the streets, freedom-loving nations must stand together to hold the Iranian regime accountable for the evil and violence it is inflicting on its people, on the region and the wider world.
Remarks at the 2019 Munich Security Conference
We’ve also taken decisive steps to confront the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran has supported terrorist proxies and militias, Hezbollah and Hamas; exported missiles; fueled conflicts in Syria and Yemen; plotted terrorist attacks on European soil; and openly advocated the destruction of the State of Israel.
Anti-Semitism is not just wrong; it’s evil. And anti-Semitism must be confronted wherever and whenever it arises, and it must be universally condemned. (Applause.)
Yesterday, my wife Karen and I paid our solemn respects to the martyrs of the Holocaust in our very first visit to Auschwitz. It was a scene of unspeakable tragedy but also a scene that marks the triumph of freedom.
As a close friend whose grandparents survived the Holocaust said to me, as we walked those grounds — the grounds of the Birkenau camp — he whispered, “Good always triumphs over evil.” And so it did, but at horrendous cost.
One lesson of that dark chapter of human history is that when authoritarian regimes breathe out vile anti-Semitic hatred and threats of violence, we must take them at their word.
The Iranian regime openly advocates another Holocaust and it seeks the means to achieve it. The Ayatollah Khamenei himself has said, “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map.”
Two years ago, President Trump made his first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia, where he convened a historic gathering of leaders from 50 nations across the region at the Arab Islamic American Summit. As President Trump said then, and I quote, “The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance.” He challenged the nations gathered there to work together, as he said, to meet “history’s great test to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces” of terrorism.
This week, it was our privilege to travel to Poland to meet with many of those same leaders who came together around that great purpose. We gathered to discuss our mutual commitment to confront Iran and make the Middle East safe for peace, prosperity, and the advance of human rights. It was remarkable to see leaders from across the region agreeing that the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As I said at that gathering, the time has come for all of us to act. The time has come for our European partners to stop undermining U.S. sanctions against this murderous revolutionary regime. The time has come for our European partners to stand with us and with the Iranian people, our allies and friends in the region. The time has come from our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve.