Mike Pence Slams Biden Administration in Visit with Iranian Dissidents: ‘Appeasement Has Never Worked and Never Will’

Former Vice President of the United States Mike Pence addresses a speech to the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) inside of the Ashraf-3 camp, in the Albanian town of Manza, on June 23, 2022. (Photo by Gent SHKULLAKU / AFP) (Photo by GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP via Getty Images)
GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration threatens to “unravel all the progress” the Trump administration made in marginalizing the Iranian regime, according to former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who expressed undying support for Iranian resistance while blasting the Biden team’s new concessions to the “tyrants” in Tehran, its “virtual abandonment of our ally Israel,” and the “disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” which have emboldened the “adversaries of freedom” that now sense “weakness” in the American administration.

Pence, who is currently visiting Albania to meet with the Iranian opposition MEK (Mujahadin-e Khalq) and its political leader Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), at their “Ashraf-3” headquarters, delivered a major foreign policy speech focusing on Iran on Thursday.

He began by calling it a “great honor” and “privilege” to be at the site “where the eternal flame of freedom in Iran burns bright.”

“I’ve traveled more than 5,000 miles from my home in Indiana to be here today because we share one common cause: the liberation of the Iranian people from decades of tyranny and the rebirth of a free, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Iran,” he said, as he thanked NCRI for “standing strong in the name of freedom.” 

Claiming to speak “with confidence regarding the views of millions of Americans,” Pence said the American people are “with you as you stand and labor for freedom in Iran” and “support your goal of establishing a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Iranian republic that derives its powers from the consent of the governed.” 

Former US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Leader of the People's Mujahedin of Iran Maryam Rajavi gesture after Pence's speech to the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) inside of the Ashraf-3 camp, in the Albanian town of Manza, on June 23, 2022. (Photo by Gent SHKULLAKU / AFP) (Photo by GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran Maryam Rajavi gesture after Pence’s speech to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) inside of the Ashraf-3 camp, in the Albanian town of Manza, on June 23, 2022. (GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP via Getty Images)

Noting that many Americans “trace their family roots to Iran,” with the U.S. home to “more members of the Iranian diaspora than any other nation on earth,” Pence highlighted how “incredibly enriched” the country has become by their contributions, adding that America “is and will always be the land of liberty holding aloft the flame of freedom for all to behold.”

“We’re proud and grateful for our Iranian American community,” he said, adding that Iranians “have always had a special place in my heart.” 

Pence sympathized with those “that were left behind, for whom life has been a misery and a hardship day in and day out in ways that you understand that we never fully will,” declaring that what Iranians have endured since the 1979 Islamic revolution “will be recorded by history as one of the great tragedies of the modern era.”

Referring to the 2009 voter uprising, he said he saw firsthand what transpired as a congressman when then-President Barack Obama “remained silent.” 

Despite that, Pence said, he “knew where the heart of the American people was.” 

“And so, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I saw that lack of action for what it was: an abdication of American leadership as courageous Iranians took to the street on behalf of freedom,” he added. “The American cause is freedom. And in this cause we must never be silent.”

He then criticized the Obama and Biden administrations for their failures on Iran.

“But sadly, the Obama-Biden administration’s halfhearted support and refusal to act ultimately emboldened Iran’s tyrannical leaders to crack down on that dissent,” he said, leading to the putting down of the uprising.

“I said at the time that we were witnessing a Tiananmen in Tehran, and so we were,” he added.

Stating that the “enduring hope for a free Iran can never be extinguished,” Pence expressed his belief that “the people of Iran will someday be free.”

In contrast to the Obama-Biden administration, he noted that under the Trump-Pence administration, “America did not turn a deaf ear to the pleas of the Iranian people” during nationwide uprisings. 

“We did not remain silent in the face of Iranian regime’s countless atrocities. We stood with freedom-loving people in Iran,” he said.

Pence listed significant actions taken by the previous administration, including abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and imposing tough sanctions on the theocracy’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which aims to protect the country’s Islamic republic political system.

“We canceled the disastrous Iran nuclear deal which flooded the regime’s coffers with tens of billions of dollars and pallets of cash, money that the regime used to repress its own people and support deadly attacks across the wider world,” he said.

“We imposed new and crippling sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard,” he added. “We launched what came to be known as a campaign of maximum pressure, punishing the regime for its belligerent behavior and the assault on its own citizens.”

The Trump administration also “vigorously enforced those sanctions to bring Iran’s oil exports to near zero during our administration and deny the regime its principal source of revenue.” 

Pence then highlighted how the previous administration “called on free nations of the world to stand with us, to stand with the Iranian people” as it “encouraged world leaders to condemn Iran’s unelected dictators and defend the Iranian people’s unalienable right to determine their own destiny.” 

“In no uncertain terms under our administration, we told the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China that the [Iran nuclear deal] was a dangerous mistake that would cost the world dearly,” he said. “And we made it abundantly clear that America would never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

He also claimed the Trump-Pence administration had “confronted the regime’s malign activity across the region.” 

“We isolated Iran as never before, empowering the people of Iran to step up and grasp for freedom even more,” he said. “And we didn’t hesitate to take decisive action against those that the regime used to perpetrate violence against innocent civilians in Iran across the region and against American service members.”

Noting the order given to eliminate Iranian Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani was during his tenure, Pence claimed to have isolated the regime while “[bringing] together Arab nations with Israel for a historic Abraham Accord.”

However, with the Biden administration’s transition into power, “a change came in America,” Pence said, with the president and his team “threatening to unravel all the progress we made in marginalizing the tyrannical regime in Tehran.” 

“It seems for all the world that this American administration is working overtime to unwind the progress that we made,” he said. “They’re working to actually restore the Iran nuclear deal, putting Tehran back on the fast track to obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“In fact, the Biden administration recently admitted that under a restored nuclear deal, Iran would be capable of amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb in less than one year, even faster than what was allowed under the previous deal,” he added.

Pence also criticized the current administration for having recently “waived sanctions imposed by the Trump-Pence administration related to the regime’s nuclear activities” as well as having “worked closely with Russia to revive talks on the Iran nuclear deal with Tehran.”

“It’s extraordinary to think as Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine rages, an American administration is working with the perpetrators of that war to reopen a deal that would only strengthen the tyrants in Tehran,” he said.

“Well, I simply say to you as an American, these actions are dangerous,” he added, saying that “appeasement has never worked and never will” and a “renewed nuclear deal with Iran won’t lead to peace and stability — it will lead to more terrorism, death and destruction.”

Pence argued that a renewed Iran nuclear deal will not only fail at stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb but will “pave a path in gold” to one. 

“A renewed Iran nuclear deal won’t benefit the people of Iran in any way. It will merely empower and enrich a corrupt regime that has tormented and tortured the Iranian people for generations,” he said.

Arguing that his faith “teaches that we are to abhor what is evil and cling to what is good,” Pence urged the current administration to support freedom-loving Iranians.

“So today, simply as an American, we call on the Biden administration to stand with the people of Iran, stand up for the cause of freedom and justice,” he said. 

“Today, we call on the Biden administration to immediately withdraw from all nuclear negotiations with Tehran, voice support for the organized opposition in Iran, and make it clear that America and our allies will never permit the regime in Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he added.

Declaring that “peace is only possible through strength,” Pence said President Biden’s embrace of the Iran nuclear deal “with new concessions offered to the tyrants in Tehran,” and “with the virtual abandonment of our ally Israel” along with the “disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” has allowed the “adversaries of freedom” to sense “weakness in the American administration,” having become “emboldened to test our resolve” as a result.

Though, according to Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin is the “one person responsible for the merciless war being waged in Ukraine,” and “must be held to account” as a result, Biden administration policies have undermined America’s international standing. 

“There is no doubt that going hand in hand to the regime in Tehran, reopening the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Russia, [and] the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan have sent emissions that have emboldened those who would use violence to perpetrate their political goals,” he said. 

“Weakness arouses evil, and the evil rising in Iran and around the world speaks to the weakness projected by the current American administration,” he added. “But let there be no doubt, whatever message may be coming from the current American government, the American people are strong and the American people stand for freedom.”

He also expressed his belief that “the brutality that we’re witnessing in this regime is evidence that the Iranian regime has never been weaker than it is today.”

“Four or five Iranians now live below the poverty line. Corruption is at an all time high, and it’s clear the Iranian people are fed up, ready for change,” he said. “The regime’s sole focus now appears to be maintaining its precarious grip on power, which grows weaker by the day.” 

“I believe that’s why the regime took the extreme step of disqualifying virtually all opposition members of parliament in the 2020 elections,” he added.

Pence argued that the “greatest evidence” indicating the Iranian regime’s growing weakness is the recent selection of Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president.

“As you all know and history records, 30 years ago, Raisi was in charge of the Ayatollah’s death squads,” he said, calling the Iranian president “a brutal mass murderer responsible for the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.”

“His selection as president was intended to quash internal dissent and intimidate the people of Iran into remaining silent, but it’s backfired,” Pence added. “The good people of Iran will never be silent in the face of evil. And neither will we.”

Pence then pledged that Raisi’s crimes “will not go unpunished,” deeming him “unworthy of leading the great people of Iran.”

“He must be removed from office by the people of Iran, and he must be prosecuted for the crimes against humanity and genocide that he perpetrated 30 years ago and every day since,” he said.

The former vice president then described the Iranian resistance movement as stronger than ever. 

“It’s been inspiring for me to learn today [that] even more resistance units in Iran are the center of hope for the Iranian people,” he said, claiming it becomes clearer each day they are “growing stronger while the regime grows weaker.” 

“Today, teachers, workers, retirees are courageously taking to the streets,” he added. “Protests that used to be isolated and sporadic quickly spread to multiple cities.”

Calling hope “a flame in the heart of freedom-loving men and women,” Pence said the flame “is burning brighter than ever before” NCRI’s opposition efforts. 

“One of the biggest lies the ruling regime has sold the world is that there’s no alternative to the status quo. But there is an alternative,” he said. “Well organized, fully prepared, perfectly qualified and popularly supported alternative [exists].”

Thanking Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi as well as the other opposition members “for offering hope” to the people in Iran, Pence said their “Resistance Units, commitment to democracy, human rights and freedom for every citizen is a vision for a free Iran and an inspiration to the world.”

“The regime in Tehran wants to trick the world into believing that the Iranian protesters want to return to the dictatorship of the Shah as well but I want to assure you, we’re not confused by their lies,” he said.

Stating the U.S. will “always be ready to embrace peace with all those who seek it,” Pence claimed the most important steps the U.S. could take are “to promote peace in the Middle East,” and to “stand with our allies, Israel and peace loving freedom nations, to continue to isolate the tyrannical regime in Tehran and to increase support for the organized resistance among the people in Iran.”

Claiming the Islamic regime in Tehran “threatens the peace and security of the world,” Pence said we “stand with the proud people of Iran because it is right.”

“All free nations of the world must continue to support the Iranian people and their calls for freedom and demand that Iran’s leaders cease their dangerous and destabilizing actions at home and respect their people and their unalienable rights,” he said.

Pence concluded with words of encouragement, claiming a “bright future will begin, ushering in an era of peace, prosperity, stability, and freedom for the good people of Iran and the world, so help us God.”

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

 

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