This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, following a visit to the memorial site of Auschwitz, accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism a day after blasting European countries for attempting to undermine U.S. sanctions against Tehran.
Pence on February 15 said a visit to the Nazi death camp in Poland had made him more determined to confront Tehran, which he claimed was “breathing out murderous threats with the same vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe.”
“For me, it simply strengthens my resolve…to stand strong against Iran,” Pence told reporters.
It was Pence’s first visit to Auschwitz, where German forces murdered 1.1 million people, most of them Jews. Poles, Roma, and others were also killed at the site during the Nazis’ occupation of Eastern Europe during World War II.
Pence pointed to Iran’s long-expressed desire to destroy the state of Israel as justification for singling out Tehran in his remarks.
Iranian Brigadier General Hossein Salami, who is deputy chief the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, last month said Iran’s strategy was to wipe “the Zionist regime” off the political map, according to Iranian state TV.
President Donald Trump has taken a tough stand against Tehran.
In 2018, he pulled the United States out of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal that Iran signed with six world powers. Trump said the accord was not tough enough and that Iran was violating its terms, which provided relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Tehran has denied that it was violating terms of the accord and has rejected other accusations, such as claims it is supporting terrorist activity in the region.
Pence on February 14 called on Washington’s European allies to also withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran, saying that Tehran is the “greatest threat to peace and security” in the Middle East.
He said that “some” of Washington’s “leading European partners” have not been cooperative when it comes to confronting Iran.
“In fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions,” Pence said at the February 14 gathering.
France, Britain, and Germany two weeks have ago launched a new financial vehicle to trade with Iran while bypassing U.S. sanctions against Iran.