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US Congress votes on resolution limiting Trump’s Iran military action amid fears of escalation

Trump angered the US senate after striking Soleimani [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 January, 2020

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Nancy Pelosi is furious with Donald Trump after he failed to consult with Congress before he authorised air strikes that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
US Senate is set to vote to limit President Donald Trump’s military action on Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has revealed.
“This resolution is similar to the resolution introduced by Senator Tim Kaine in the Senate,” she said in a statement on Sunday evening.

“It reasserts Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days”.

Pelosi sent a letter to Democratic members of Congress days after Trump decided to deploy thousands of additional troops to the Middle East following an air strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani over the weekend.

Pelosi said the resolution would be led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, who had previously worked for the CIA and was an analyst for the Defence Department specialising in Shia militias.

“As Members of Congress,” she continued in a letter addressed to party members, “our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe.

"For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress’s war powers granted to it by the constitution”.

Donald Trump was defiant against criticism from the House, and on Sunday tweeted that he did not need to seek the permission of Congress over approval of future military action.

He said his tweets would serve as notification if he did decide to strike Iran.

“These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any US person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner, Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”

Pelosi was furious that neither she nor the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, were told in advance about the targeting of Soleimani.

She called the attack a “initiation of hostilities” taken “without consultation of the Congress and without the articulation of a clear and legitimate strategy to either the Congress or the Public”.

Speaking on ABC television, Schumer said he was worried that the president would drag the US into "what he (Trump) calls another endless war in the Middle East".

"I am really worried, and that is why Congress must assert itself. I don't believe the president has authority to go to war in Iraq without congressional" approval, he added.

Response to the death of Soleimani has been mixed. In the US, Democrat leader hopeful Elizabeth Warren condemned Trump’s decision, tweeting: “Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans”.

She went on to say: “But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war”.

Warren has stated that Iran is a “significant threat” to the United States and its allies, and in July 2017 voted in favour of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act that enacted sanctions against Iran, Russia, and North Korea.

Bernie Sanders says the air strike puts US “on the path” to another war whereas former Vice President Joe Biden brushed him off, saying “Bernie’s got enough baggage”. 

European leaders call for restraint

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined European leaders in a call for all sides to show “restraint” following the killing of Soleimani, after Iran vowed revenge.

Johnson encourages restraint on both sides [Getty]


In a joint statement issued on Sunday night, Johnson, joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron urged restraint and called on Iran not to respond with further violence.

The leaders said they were concerned by the “negative” role Iran played in the region but called on “all parties to exercise utmost restraint and responsibility”.

 In the statement, the three leaders urged the country to "reverse all measures inconsistent with" the deal.

Johnson is preparing to gather ministers to discuss the situation in the Middle East, and the prime minister said he spoke to Donald Trump on Sunday.

"Given the leading role he has played in actions that have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and western personnel, we will not lament his death," Johnson said.

"It is clear, however, that all calls for retaliation or reprisals will simply lead to more violence in the region and they are in no-one's interest."

The White House stated that the two leaders spoke on the assassination of the Iranian general and “reaffirmed the close alliance between the two countries”.

 

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