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US Senate passes bipartisan resolution to curb Trump's war authority on Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) speaks during news conference following the bipartisan Senate vote on the War Powers Resolution on Iran with Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) at the US Capitol on February 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The US Senate has voted to limit Donald Trump’s authority to wage war against Iran, one day after the president warned the Senate not to do so.

On Thursday, the US Senate voted 55-45 to pass a bipartisan war powers resolution, rebuking Trump for ordering a strike last month against a top Iranian military commander which was followed by Tehran’s retaliation.

Eight Republican senators joined all the 47 Democrat members of the Senate in supporting the resolution, including Sens. Todd Young of Indiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

The resolution was introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., after a drone strike, authorized by Trump, assassinated Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his companions outside Baghdad International Airport.

The January 3 strike targeted Soleimani, the former commander of the IRGC's Quds Force, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known as Hashed al-Sha’abi in Arabic, and their companions.

"With passage of this resolution, we sent a powerful message that we don’t support starting a war with Iran unless Congress votes that military action is necessary,” Kaine said.

“After years of Congress avoiding its constitutional duty on matters of war, I’m grateful that a bipartisan majority of Senators affirmed that the President cannot send our troops into conflict without authorization." 

The resolution underlines that Congress has the sole power to declare war, as stipulated in the Constitution. In addition, it requires Trump to remove US troops engaged in hostilities against Iran unless explicitly approved by Congress.

Trump, who has promised a veto, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that “we are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness.”

Soon after General Soleimani’s assassination, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Washington was to face a “harsh revenge” for the atrocity.

The IRGC shortly unleashed volleys of ballistic missiles at the US’ Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq’s Anbar Province, which housed US forces. The Leader later described the retaliatory strikes as “only a slap.”

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