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Pence to focus on US Iran policy in speech

Vice President Mike Pence will focus on the U.S.’s Iran policy in a speech next Monday after tensions between the countries intensified over the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a White House official told Reuters

The vice president’s speech at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ National Security Summit in Washington next week will discuss the differences between the Iranian people and the Iranian government, the official told the news wire, declining to give further details.

The speech comes after President Trump’s authorized killing of Soleimani has sparked protests across the Middle East and prompted Iran to say it will retaliate. Soleimani was killed in a U.S. strike last week that hit the Baghdad airport.

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Trump has responded to Iran by saying that if Iran retaliates, the U.S. has prepared to strike 52 sites, including some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture,” leading to Iran and others to accuse the U.S. of attempting to violate international law forbidding attacks to cultural sites. 

Officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have backtracked on Trump’s comments saying the U.S. will follow international law in potential future attacks.

Pence supported Trump’s move to attack Soleimani in a tweet Friday saying he “took decisive action and stood up against the leading state sponsor of terror to take out an evil man who was responsible for killing thousands of Americans.”

 

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have been high, especially after Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal last year and imposed sanctions on the country.

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