US Vice President Mike Pence (right) chats with Gen. Nick Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, shortly after arriving at Bagram Air Field in December.
(photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/POOL/REUTERS)
WASHINGTON — Addressing US troops at a military base near Syria on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence said the Trump administration is determined to thwart Iran's expansionist ambitions, including its rush to control larges swaths of Syrian territory bordering Israel.
Ahead of his arrival in Israel, Pence warned that Tehran was moving to fill a vacuum created by the defeat of Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria – an achievement he attributed to the leadership of the commander-in-chief.
"We will not waver in our resolve to confront the leading state sponsor of terrorism, the dictatorship in Iran," Pence told the troops. "You know, Iran hopes to become the dominant power in the Middle East, by expanding its influence amidst the ruins of ISIS’s former territory. The ayatollahs in Tehran ultimately hope to threaten America’s allies across the wider region. But President Trump has put Iran on notice."
"The United States of America will no longer tolerate Iran’s attempts to spread its malign influence or strengthen terrorists across this region," Pence continued. "And as President Trump has made clear, the United States of America will never allow Iran to acquire a usable nuclear weapon. That is our promise to our allies and to the world."
The vice president's staff said Iran policy will top his agenda in meetings with Israeli officials, and will dominate his remarks to the Knesset.