The US House of Representatives has unanimously passed an amendment that bans President Donald Trump from declaring a war on Iran without the Congress’s approval.
The bipartisan amendment received on Wednesday approval from the House as part of the US National Defense Authorization Act of 2019.
The amendment, introduced by Democratic Representative Keith Maurice Ellison and cosponsored by a number of other Democratic as well as Republican lawmakers, made clear Congress’s position that no law exists which gives the president power to launch a military strike against the Islamic Republic.
The announcement came two weeks after Washington unilaterally walked out of a multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major powers in 2015. The move was construed by many as a declaration of war against Tehran.
“The unanimous passage of this bipartisan amendment is a strong and timely counter to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran deal and its increasingly hostile rhetoric,” Ellison said.
“This amendment sends a powerful message that the American people and Members of Congress do not want a war with Iran. Today, Congress acted to reclaim its authority over the use of military force,” he added.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee threw her support behind the measure and said, “I am pleased with the inclusion of this amendment, which clarifies that the President does not have the authority to go to war with Iran.”
“Just weeks after President Trump shamefully pulled out of the Iran Deal, it is more important than ever to ensure diplomacy with Iran and in the region. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this important amendment and will do everything in my power to ensure we do not go to war with Iran,” she noted.
Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from the US state of Illinois, also said, “This amendment’s historic passage affirms the fact that the American people do not want to go to war with Iran.”
“Following the President’s misguided withdrawal from the JCPOA, the House of Representatives sent a clear message by passing this amendment unanimously: unauthorized war with Iran is not an option. The President must listen to the American people and return to diplomacy as the primary solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” she added.
Since the JCPOA Implementation Day in January 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal and has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance.
President Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.
Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision on its future role in the agreement. Tehran wants the Europeans to give it clear-cut guarantees about fulfilling their obligations if it remains in the accord.
The European Commission has said it will take steps to preserve the interests of European companies investing in Iran and demonstrate the EU’s commitment to the JCPOA.