Pelosi Says Trump’s Strike Against Soleimani Was Not Authorized, Demands Details
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is demanding that the White House brief lawmakers on the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraq, saying the strike was carried out without the consultation of Congress, according to NBC News.
President Donald Trump directed the strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s secretive Quds Force. However, the move is likely to provoke retaliation from Iran.
“Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America -- and the world -- cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return,” Pelosi said in a statement on Thursday.
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops in the region,” she added.
The Defense Department characterized the strike as “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad” and said that Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
Soleimani and the Quds Force orchestrated attacks on bases in Iraq in the last several months that claimed that lives of hundreds of Americans and other coalition forces, including a Dec. 27 attack that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded several service members.
Although Democrats condemned Soleimani’s actions, they expressed concern over the potential consequences of his death.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that Soleimani “was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him.”
“But Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran,” Schiff said. “All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable escalation and increased risk.”
Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, called the U.S. strike an “act of international terrorism” and an assassination. “The U.S. bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Zarif said.
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