Former United States vice-President Mike Pence has linked criticism of the Biden administration over the Russian invasion of Ukraine to world powers’ nuclear talks with Iran.

“it’s incomprehensible to the American people that we are negotiating with Iran to lift sanctions, presumably to buy more oil,” Pence told Fox News Friday. The former vice-President backed refusing Russian oil and gas, while suggesting the US facing rising prices should neither use reserves nor consider imports from Iran or Venezuela.

Pence denounced year-long negotiations, including Russia as one of five world powers, to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the US left in 2018 with Pence as vice-president under Donald Trump. Pence said the talks emboldened Putin over Ukraine.

“It’s only with American strength and rallying our Western allies that we’ll be able to return peace to Ukraine,” Pence argued. He rejected “working with Russia to try and convince Iran to get back in the nuclear deal.”

Pence criticized Biden’s move to release 1 million barrels of oil a day over six months from reserves to decrease prices, suggesting there were options to raise production. “These are the kind of messages of weakness the American people aren’t having,” he said. “American strength is the antidote to this moment at home and abroad.”

He attacked Biden for sending a “delegation to Venezuela, to the dictator [President Nicolas] Maduro, to presumably begin to beg for more oil when we have vast reserves of oil in this country.”

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