US to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal, Pence assures Netanyahu

US to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal, Pence assures Netanyahu

JERUSALEM - US Vice President Mike Pence is calling the Iranian nuclear deal a “disaster” and says the Trump administration will no longer certify it.

Instead, Pence told the Israeli parliament on Monday that the administration is “committed to enact effective and lasting restraints on Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

Pence has received a warm welcome in Israel , which has praised the American decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel . Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among the fiercest opponents to the nuclear accord the Obama administration reached with Iran, saying it could pave a path for the Islamic Republic acquiring a nuclear weapon that could threaten Israel’s existence.

Pence says that the deal is not fixed and that in the coming months, the United States will “withdraw from the deal.

Vice President Mike Pence is “strongly” urging the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.

In a speech to the Israeli parliament, Pence said on Monday that “peace can only come through dialogue.”

The Palestinians have angrily protested the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and say the U.S. cannot be trusted as a mediator. They have said they will reject any peace plan the Trump administration presents.

Pence told the parliament that Israel “can be confident” that the U.S will never compromise Israel’s security.

Vice President Mike Pence says the United States will open its embassy in Jerusalem next year, ahead of schedule.

In an address to the Israeli parliament on Monday, Pence defended the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which has been condemned by the Palestinians and their Arab allies.

Pence says the administration will advance its plan in the coming weeks and the embassy will open by the end of 2019. Previous estimates had been the move would take three or four years.

The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital. They say the U.S. cannot be a mediator after the decision and have pre-emptively rejected any peace plan presented by the Trump administration.

Arab lawmakers in Israel’s parliament have been tossed out from the house for heckling Vice President Mike Pence at the start of his speech.

The main Arab party in the Israeli parliament warned ahead of time it would boycott Pence on Monday.

The Knesset, which is accustomed to such high-profile visits, had added a new layer of security, and besides the speaker and other dignitaries, lawmakers did not have direct access to Pence.

Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List, said it was the party’s democratic right to boycott the speech by the U.S. vice president. In a tweet, he said the party will not provide a “silent backdrop” to a man he called a “dangerous racist.”

Netanyahu called the boycott a disgrace. He and other gave Pence a standing ovation. - Agencies

Middle East