Former Vice President Mike Pence was a surprise guest at a rally in Paris, France this weekend thrown by Iranian dissidents in support of the Iranian regime’s overthrow.
Mr Pence, who is running in the increasingly tight Republican primary in 2024, has railed against the authoritarian government in Tehran, claiming it is an effort by the Biden administration to defend the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the US and several European countries revitalize countries. That deal was abandoned by the Trump administration, which accused Tehran of violating the deal “in spirit.”
“Now a new government threatens to undo all the progress we have made in marinizing the tyrannical regime in Tehran,” Mr Pence claimed.
“They are working overtime to restore the Iran nuclear deal and put Tehran back on the fast track to acquiring nuclear weapons.” The Independent has asked the White House for comment on those comments.
He also claimed that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon in a year if sanctions are lifted and the 2015 deal is reinstated.
However, the Biden administration has shown no signs, at least publicly, that it will restart the abandoned agreement.
Had there been a chance to resume negotiations with Iran, they likely would have hit a stumbling block now, with Rob Malley, Biden’s special envoy on Iran, suspended pending an internal State Department investigation into his abusive handling of confidential material became.
Sources with knowledge of the situation described Mr Malley as a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal The Independent.
The State Department has declined in recent weeks to confirm whether talks on the nuclear deal are still ongoing, saying only that Mr Malley’s status is being reviewed.
Pence appeared at the annual National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) event just days after an unannounced visit to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The dissident group’s event went smoothly and was attended by thousands, although the French government initially refused the group permission to hold an outdoor rally. This decision was later overturned by a French court.
The authorities had warned that the risk of a terrorist attack made it necessary to cancel the rally. Similar threats have been faced at previous NCRI events in Paris, including in 2018 when a diplomat working for the Iranian government and three other people were arrested and later convicted of a bomb attack.
The former vice president’s European trip comes at a time when his candidacy for the White House hasn’t garnered a double-digit approval rating in any major poll, though he’s likely to qualify for at least one presidential debate.