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US Senate votes to restrain Trump from attacking Iran

WASHINGTON: The US Senate voted Thursday to restrain President Donald Trump from attacking Iran, with eight members of his Republican Party bucking their leadership to agree.

The resolution, which requires Trump to seek explicit authorization from Congress before further hostilities with Iran, passed in similar form in the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

But it faces a near-certain veto from Trump after it goes back through the House.

The resolution passed 55-45, with eight Republicans joining the Democrats. The resolution asks the president to go to Congress for explicit authorization to attack Iran, but makes an exception for defending against an “imminent” threat.

Eight senators of Trump’s Republican Party, which enjoys a majority, bucked their leadership to join Democrats, following a classified Iran session by the Trump administration that one Republican called the worst briefing he had ever witnessed.

The resolution, which bars the United States from any military action against Iran without explicit approval by Congress, will head to the Democratic-led House of Representatives, which passed a text in similar form last month.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine introduced the resolution after Soleimani’s death.

While warning of dire consequences of an escalating conflict with Iran, Kaine said his main point was to restore the authority of Congress to declare war, as spelled out in the US Constitution.

“An offensive war requires a congressional debate and vote. This should not be a controversial proposition,” Kaine said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The resolution makes an exception if the United States is “defending itself from an imminent act.”

Tensions have soared between the United States and Iran since 2018 when Trump withdrew from a denuclearization accord negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and imposed sweeping sanctions aimed at reducing Tehran’s regional role.

Earlier, the US Senate had opened debate Wednesday on a resolution to limit President Donald Trump´s authority to go to war with Iran, with passage likely after eight Republicans sided with Democrats to advance the bill.

Passage could embarrass the president, who has been able to count on the Republicans´ solid majority in the Senate to block legislation he disagrees with.

While Trump is expected to veto the legislation, he warned the Senate Wednesday to vote it down and not limit his policy choices.

“It is very important for our Country´s SECURITY that the United States Senate not vote for the Iran War Powers Resolution,” he tweeted.

“We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness… If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party.”

In January the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed its own version of the law, after Trump´s order to kill Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and retaliatory missile strikes by Tehran dramatically escalated tensions and raised fears of a devastating war between the two foes.

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