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Vice President Mike Pence today called on America’s European allies to exit the Iran deal and chastised them for what he called "an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime."

Pence speaks in Warsaw. Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images
  • Speaking at a summit in Warsaw, Pence called the European special purpose vehicle established to circumvent U.S. sanctions “an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the United States.”
  • The U.K., Germany and France were represented, despite initial reluctance to travel to Poland for what was initially billed as an anti-Iran summit and then became something else — though it was never entirely clear what.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo closed with a call for “more sanctions, more pressure on Iran.” The Europeans clearly aren't on board. Iran, meanwhile, called the event a “desperate circus.”

While the summit left many observers perplexed, one notable aspect was that Israel and several Arab countries were present — though the Palestinians were not.

  • Jared Kushner gave a presentation behind closed doors on the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which he said would be presented some time after Israel’s April 9 elections.
L-R: Rouhani, Putin, Erdogan. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Turkey skipped the Warsaw gathering. Instead, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a Syria summit in Sochi with Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

  • Putin said the three leaders agreed U.S. withdrawal from Syria is “a positive step” and that Syrian government troops should fill the void left behind.

What to watch: “Almost five years after the militant group’s lightning sweep across parts of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State is surrounded on all sides and the SDF expects to declare victory within days,” the Washington Post’s Louisa Loveluck reports from Syria.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

The week markets went wild

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio

The markets just closed out a manic week.

Why it matters: Outsized — and in some cases historic — moves were evident across the board.