UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — President Donald Trump ordered the strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last month in response to attacks in the past, the administration said in a note published on Friday, despite previous administration assurances that the strike on a drone was due to an imminent threat.
By law, the administration sent to Congress a non-secret justification for the January 2 strike that killed Soleimani at Baghdad airport. The strike and the subsequent Iranian response raised fears of a wider conflict.
“The president directed this move in response to an escalating series of attacks in previous months by Iran and Iranian-backed militias on American forces and interests in the Middle East region,” said the report sent to Congress.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee published the memo a day after the Senate passed legislation winning rare Republican and Democratic support that restricts the president’s ability to wage war on Iran.
The report said the purpose of the attack was to protect US military personnel, deter Iran, and weaken the ability of militias backed by Iran to launch attacks and “end the Iranian strategic escalation of attacks.”
He also stated that the constitution gives the president the right to order the use of force to protect the country from an imminent attack, threat or attack.
He added that he also relied on the Act to Authorize the Use of Military Force, which Congress passed in 2002 for the Iraq war.
Democrat Elliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said the memo contradicted Trump’s earlier assertion that the strike prevented an imminent attack, adding that lawmakers needed more answers.
“We want answers and testimony, so I look forward to Secretary of State (Mike) Pompeo’s testimony before the committee in an open session on February 28 regarding policy toward Iran and Iraq, including the strike targeting Soleimani and the war authorities,” Engel said in a statement.
An assistant to the commission confirmed that Pompeo agreed to appear before her on February 28.
Neither the White House nor the State Department responded to requests for comment.
Pompeo had rejected two previous requests of the commission to discuss Iran’s policy in an open session.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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