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US House passes nonbinding resolution to limit Trump’s actions against Iran

Trump addresses the nation from the White House on Jan. 8, 2020, a day after Iran attacked US bases in Iraq. (White House/Releaed)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. House of Representatives, as expected, on January 9 passed a nonbinding resolution limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.

The resolution passed by a margin of 224-194 in the Democratic-led chamber, where many lawmakers were unconvinced with the White House’s justification for the targeted killing last week of Major General Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most prominent military commander.

Three Republicans voted for the measure, while eight Democrats voted against it.

Sponsored by Representative Elissa Slotkin (Democrat-Michigan), a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official who served in Iraq, the War Powers Resolution directs Trump to “terminate the use of the United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.”

It also requires the president to consult with Congress “in every possible instance” before introducing the military in hostilities with Iran.

The military could also be deployed against Iran if Congress declares war.

Hours before the vote in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) said she did not believe Trump’s administration had made the United States “safer” by killing Soleimani.

A day earlier, Pelosi said that “members of the Congress have serious, urgent concerns about the administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran and about its lack of strategy moving forward.”

Pelosi said that, although the measure does not require Trump’s signature and is not binding, it “has real teeth” because it is “a statement of the Congress of the United States.”

Before the vote, Trump wrote on Twitter that he hoped “all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution.”

The January 3 killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad has raised fears of a conflict between the United States and Iran.

The 62-year-old Soleimani, who helped orchestrate Tehran’s overseas clandestine and military operations, was designated a terrorist by the United States as was the secretive military unit he led – the Quds Force.

In response to the Iranian commander’s death, Iran on January 8 fired missiles at bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq.

Trump later in the day said Tehran was “standing down” and made no mention of further military action.

However, the U.S. president announced further sanctions against Iran.

Speaking at the White House on January 9, he said the additional sanctions had already been imposed.

“It’s already been done; we’ve increased them,” Trump said, without providing details.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News: “We continue to receive word that Iran is standing down, but at the president’s direction we’re going to remain vigilant.”

Pence also told CBS News that the United States was receiving “encouraging intelligence that Iran is sending messages” to its allied militias not to attack U.S. targets.

However, a senior Iranian commander said on January 9 that the firing of missiles at U.S. targets a day earlier was “the start of a series of attacks across the region,” according to state television.