Pence calls for European allies to dump Iran deal after Merkel defends accord

Pence calls for European allies to dump Iran deal after Merkel defends accord
© Stefani Reynolds

Vice President Pence on Saturday called on European allies to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran after German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out in defense of the accord.

“The time has come for our European partners to stand with us and with the Iranian people, our allies and friends in the region," Pence said at the Munich Security Conference.

"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,” he added. 

Pence, who had a bilateral meeting with Merkel at the annual conference, spoke out shortly after the German leader praised the Obama-era nuclear deal.

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“The only question that stands between us on this issue is, do we help our common cause, our common aim of containing the damaging or difficult development of Iran, by withdrawing from the one remaining agreement? Or do we help it more by keeping the small anchor we have in order maybe to exert pressure in other areas?” Merkel said, according to The Associated Press.

Saturday’s speech was the second time this week that Pence has urged European allies to pull out of the nuclear agreement.

“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,” Pence said Thursday in Warsaw during a conference on the Middle East organized by the U.S.

European efforts to increase trade with Iran was “an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime,” he added. “It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the [European Union] and create still more distance between Europe and the United States.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE, a longtime critic of the nuclear pact that the U.S. under former President Obama signed with Iran and several other world powers, withdrew the U.S. from the deal last year on the grounds that it did not address other issues such as Tehran’s support for militant groups in the Middle East and its missile program. 

The Iran deal is one of several foreign policy platforms that the Trump administration and European allies have disagreed upon, as well as trade and NATO contributions.