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Former Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Iranian dissidents in Albania on Thursday, where he is expected to meet victims of the Tehran regime and deliver a political speech to those campaigning for a democratic and secular Iran.

Pence visits the headquarters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group for dissident groups that oppose the regime and which has found support from a number of Trump-era officials, including the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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February 17, 2022: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Thursday, February 17, 2022, in Stanford, California. (Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
((Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images))

Pence is expected to meet with NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi, meet with those who have suffered human rights abuses in the country and deliver a political speech. He spoke at an NCRI event last year when he warned of the dangers of Western weakness towards Tehran.

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The NCRI, which has offices in Washington DC, has pushed for a tougher stance by the West against Iran – and has opposed efforts to re-enter the deal with Iran, warning that cannot trust the regime to comply with the conditions. It is the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, Iran’s main opposition movement that has recently launched a number of cyberattacks in Iran that have destroyed security cameras and government websites.

The Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 accord, which placed limits on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, in 2018 and began reimposing waves of sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” strategy designed to mount pressure on the regime and curb its aggression through proxies in the region. The administration also launched a strike that eliminated the leader of the Quds Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani.

Talks to bring the United States and Iran back into the deal have stalled amid demands from Iran’s radical new government and Russia to ensure that sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine will not affect its trade relations. with Iran.

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Many Republicans have opposed moves by the Biden administration to put the United States back in the deal with Iran. In March, a group of 49 Republican senators said they would not approve of the deal and pledged to roll back any deal that weakens sanctions and lowers nuclear restrictions.

“The nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than the 2015 nuclear deal, which was itself too weak, and will greatly undermine the leverage of the United States to secure a truly ‘longer and stronger deal’ “”, they said. “Furthermore, the deal appears likely to deepen Iran’s financial and security relations with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales.”

Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report


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