Nancy Pelosi Calls on Congress to Curb Trump’s War Powers as US-Iran Tensions Rise

January 6, 2020 Updated: January 6, 2020
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement Sunday that the House will vote on a war powers resolution this week in a bid to curb President Donald Trump’s authority to pursue military initiatives against Iran amid growing tensions following a strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic members of Congress that the resolution seeks to put an end to military action again Iran within 30 days unless authorized by Congress, like via declaration of war.

The speaker claimed that the “provocative and disproportionate” airstrike on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani “endangered our service members, diplomats, and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran.”

Trump ordered a strike last week against Soleimani, the architect of Tehran’s overseas military operations, including ones targeting Americans. The Iranian general was killed early on Jan. 3 by a drone-fired missile that struck his convoy at Baghdad’s airport.

Qassem Soleimani
Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani (C) attends a meeting in Tehran on Sept. 18, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

Before the attack, the U.S. intelligence community said it had reason to believe that Soleimani was involved in “late stage” planning to strike Americans in multiple countries, including Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, to draw the United States into military action and take attention away from the mass protests in Iraq against Iran’s growing influence in the country.

Iranian officials responded by threatening to retaliate. Senior Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Gholamali Abuhamzeh warned that dozens of U.S. targets were within reach of the Islamic regime following Soleimani’s killing.

“Some 35 U.S. targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach,” Abuhamzeh was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying. He also raised the prospect of possible attacks on U.S. destroyers and other warships in the Strait of Hormuz.

Trump then cautioned that the United States had “targeted 52 Iranian sites” in response to the retaliatory threats and warned Iran not to attack “any Americans or American assets” or targets would be “hit very fast and very hard.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week” on Jan. 5 that any target the U.S. military might strike in Iran in retaliation would be a lawful target orchestrated solely to safeguard American interests.

“The American people should know that every target that we strike will be a lawful target, and it will be a target designed with a singular mission of protecting and defending America,” Pompeo said.

Epoch Times Photo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks on human rights in Iran at the State Department in Washington on Dec. 19, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

In her letter, Pelosi said the war powers resolution she is seeking to pass “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.”

“This resolution is similar to the resolution introduced by Senator Tim Kaine in the Senate,” Pelosi said.

The resolution is likely to win approval in the Democratic-led House, but prospects for passage are less certain in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, many of whom have said they support the president’s action on Iran.

Among those who praised the White House for the strike against Soleimani were House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Graham said Soleimani “had American blood on his hands,” and he welcomed what he called Trump’s “bold action against Iranian aggression.”

“To the Iranian government: If you want more, you will get more,” Graham said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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