EghtesadOnline: The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to stop US President Donald Trump from further military action against Iran, as the Middle East remained tense after the US assassination of a top Iranian commander and Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes.
The resolution passed 224-194 along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with nearly all Republicans opposed. The measure orders termination of Trump’s war powers to use US armed forces against Iran without the US Congress consent, Reuters reported.
The measure now goes to the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s Republican Party, and faces an uphill battle, according to Financial Tribune.
The vote came after Trump said that he ordered the deadly drone strike against the top Iranian military commander, Major General Qasem Soleimani, in Iraq last week because the general had allegedly planned attacks against US forces and interests.
Later, at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, Trump claimed the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps had been planning attacks on US embassies.
“Soleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad, but we stopped him and we stopped him quickly,” Trump contended.
White House’s Reaction
A White House spokesman called the house-passed war powers measure “ridiculous” and politically motivated. The measure “could undermine the ability of the United States to protect American citizens whom Iran [allegedly] continues to seek to harm,” an administration policy statement said.
But if passed by the senate, the measure does not need Trump’s signature to go into effect.
Earlier on Thursday, Iran spurned Trump’s call for a new nuclear pact, and its commanders threatened more retaliatory measures, fueling worries that an apparent pause in US-Iran conflict could be short-lived.
But each side’s next move was uncertain. Iranian generals resumed warnings to Washington and Trump said new sanctions had been imposed, as his Democratic rivals criticized his handling of the crisis.
Iran fired missiles on Wednesday at bases in Iraq where US troops were stationed in retaliation for Soleimani’s assassination in Baghdad on Jan. 3.
Trump claimed no US troops had been harmed in the strikes and Iran “appears to be standing down”, adding that Washington did not want to use its “great military”.
The tit-for-tat actions followed months of tension that has increased since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have driven down Tehran’s vital oil exports.
Trump said it was time for world powers to replace the 2015 nuclear pact with a new deal so Iran could “thrive and prosper”.
The IRGC issued new threats to Washington, with one senior commander warning of “harsher revenge soon” and another saying Wednesday’s missile strikes were only the start of a series of attacks across the region.
Brigadier General Esmaeil Qa’ani, the new head of Quds Force, which runs Iran’s overseas operations, said he would follow the course pursued by his predecessor.
General Soleimani was a national hero whose funeral drew millions of mourners nationwide.
Analysts say that in an election year, Trump wants to avoid getting into a drawn-out conflict.