Pence Warns Iran to 'Think Twice' Before Testing Trump Administration

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Congress Hall in Philadelphia, Feb. 4, 2017. PlayDavid Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
WATCH VP Mike Pence Warns Iran to 'Think Twice' Before Testing Trump Administration

Days after the Trump administration imposed new sanctions on Iran, Vice President Mike Pence issued a stern warning to the country in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

“Iran would do well not to test the resolve of this new president,” Pence said on “This Week” Sunday, adding that Iran should “think twice about their continued hostile and belligerent actions.”

When Stephanopoulos pressed the vice president on what actions by Iran would test Trump’s resolve, the vice president specifically mentioned the country's ballistic missile tests and military support for Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Asked how the U.S. would respond to another provocation, Pence answered that the “president said everything’s on the table” -- including military action.

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Iran Friday, one day after Trump tweeted that the country is "on notice" for testing its missile test.

The economic restrictions will target 13 individuals and 12 entities in what senior administration officials described as a direct response to Iran's missile test and its "provocative" behavior.

Iranian officials dismissed the sanctions and vowed to "respond proportionately and reciprocally to any move that targets the interests of the Iranian people.”

Pence told Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" that Iran's provocative tone is an insult to the nuclear deal the country reached with the Obama administration, five other major powers, and the European Union.

“Iran should be standing up and be essentially working with the world community. But instead, what we see is this kind of belligerent and hostile behavior, defiant behavior to the world community,” the vice president said.

President Trump made a similar argument, tweeting Friday that “Iran is playing with fire. They don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”

Trump criticized the Iran deal heavily throughout the campaign, but his Cabinet picks have taken a softer tone. In testimony at their Senate confirmation hearings, Defense Secretary James Mattis said America must “live up to … her word,” and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson only went so far as to call for a “full review’ of the nuclear agreement.

Given the somewhat contradictory views, Stephanopoulos pressed Pence on the administration’s policy toward Iran.

“The president and I and our administration think it was a terrible deal,” the vice president said. “We're evaluating [what to do next] as we speak.”

Ultimately, Pence said, the decision is President Trump’s.

“The president will make that decision in the days ahead, and he'll listen to all of his advisers, whether it be Secretary Tillerson or whether it be Secretary Mattis. We'll take all the inputs.”