Vice President Mike Pence accused “the murderous revolutionary regime” of Iran of calling for “another Holocaust” during a two-day summit in Warsaw yesterday where the Trump administration is rallying support for action against the Islamic Republic.
Administration officials have long used strong rhetoric on Iran, but the speech marked a first for alleging a so-called genocidal plot.
Speaking of a visit to Auschwitz planned for today Pence began, “anti-Semitism must be confronted, wherever and whenever it arises, and it must be universally condemned.” Turning his attention to Iran, he continued, “But beyond its hateful rhetoric, the Iranian regime openly advocates another Holocaust and it seeks the means to achieve it.”
The gathering in Poland was attended by officials from 60 countries. Pence pleaded a case for Europe to adopt sanctions and abandon JCPOA, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Pence referred to the agreement as a “devil’s bargain with our common enemy.”
He argued the nuclear deal “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.”
“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,” Pence said.
The U.S. “has been a force for good in the Middle East,” Pence continued, “But under the mullahs’ regime in Iran, for their people, it’s been 40 years of corruption, 40 years of repression, 40 years of terror, and 40 years of failure.”
Using religiously coated language, Pence closed his talk with an invocation for action against Tehran.
“I believe with all my heart we can claim that blessing anew for all the people of this region and the world for ourselves and our posterity. If we claim it with faith and we claim it together, I believe God will surely bless us with peace,” Pence said.
Later in the day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also in Warsaw, was asked if Pence was able to make any inroads with Europe. Pompeo told Radio Farda, “There’s clearly differences on how to attack the problem. The Europeans are wedded to the JCPOA.”
When asked directly if the U.S. aimed to corral support for regime change in Iran, Pompeo repeated a mantra of senior officials in the administration over recent weeks, “We want a change in the regime’s behavior.”
The specter of American interest in ousting the Iranian leadership hightened yesterday after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wanted “war with Iran.” The comment was made to reporters outside of an official session and released in a video that has since been deleted from social media by the Israeli government. An updated translation was later released where the prime minister called for “combatting Iran” and its aggression.
Earlier today Jared Kushner led a rare closed door session on his peace plan for the Israelis and Palestinians. Kushner said the agreement will be made public in April, following Israeli elections.
Palestinian officials boycotted the Warsaw summit.
Writing an op-ed for Haaretz, senior Palestinian leader Nabil Sha’ath explained the administration had already edged out Palestinians for Trump’s peace talks by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and de-funding refugee programs.
“While the obvious target of the conference is Iran, the Trump team aims to use this conference as an event to push for their vision for Israel and Palestine, one that, based on the steps they have taken, is certainly not about peace making” Sha’ath wrote.
We join the #WarsawSummit to take a firm stand against forces that threaten the future of peace&security in the region, especially the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism: the Iranian regime that continues to destabilize our region and launch ballistic missiles against civilians
— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) February 13, 2019
In 2003 a Saudi-led peace initiative first offered broad scale normalization between Arab countries and Israel in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Even if so superficially, Warsaw seems to have worn away at that deal.
A lighthearted moment- @netanyahu microphone was not working so FM of Yemen loaned him his microphone. @Netenyahu joked about the new cooperation between Israel and Yemen. Step by step… 😁👍 #WarsawSummit
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) February 14, 2019
Special envoy for Middle East Peace Jason Greenblatt joked on social media that Israel and Yemen bridged relations by passing a microphone.