In a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Pence rejected a call by Germany’s chancellor to include Moscow in global cooperation efforts.
He also called on the European Union to recognize Venezuelan congress leader Juan Guaido as the president of the South American country, and called President Nicolas Maduro a dictator who must step down.
“Today we call on the European Union to step forward for freedom and recognize Juan Guaido as the only legitimate president of Venezuela,” he said, Presstv reported.
Pence also told senior European and Asian officials that the EU should follow the United States in quitting the Iran nuclear deal.
Pence used his speech to encourage skeptical allies into joining an anti-Iran alliance, which includes Israel and Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf. “They’ve supported terrorist proxies and militias. The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
Pence’s speech was the latest attempt by the administration of President Donald Trump to put the president’s “America First” agenda into a coherent policy plan.
European leaders are troubled by Trump’s rhetoric, which they say is erratic and disruptive, citing his decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as undermining an international agreement.
During an anti-Iran conference in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, the US vice president accused Britain, Germany and France of undermining US sanctions on Iran and repeated his demand that European powers withdraw from the deal.
“The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure,” Pence said.
His speech contrasted sharply with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s robust defense of Berlin’s foreign policy and ties with Russia, urging global leaders at the Munich conference to work together to tackle the world’s problems.
Speaking before Pence, Merkel questioned whether the US decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal and withdrawal from Syria was the best way to deal with Tehran’s growing influence in the region.
She defended plans for a new natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that Pence again criticized.
During a question-and-answer session, she added that it would be wrong to exclude Russia politically, but Pence accused Russia of attempting to destabilize Ukraine through cyber attacks, disinformation and covert operations.