Lawmakers believe any military action against Tehran must be authorized by Congress. It is unclear whether the Trump administration agrees.
US senators warned State Secretary Mike Pompeo on Wednesday that the White House has no authority to declare war on anyone — including Iran — since, according to the US Constitution, this power belongs to Congress.
Talking to Pompeo during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asked Pompeo if the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, issued to allow US troops to fight with entities responsible for the 9/11 attacks and their associated forces, included Iran.
Pompeo dodged the question in his trademark manner, addressing the formalities to the lawyers, but claimed he has no doubt that “there’s a connection” between the Iranian government and al-Qaeda, the terror group that was responsible for 9/11.
“The factual question with respect to Iran’s connections to al-Qaeda is very real. They have hosted al-Qaeda. They have permitted al-Qaeda to transit their country,” he said.
“There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda. Period, full stop,” he added.
The lawmakers were not satisfied with Pompeo’s allegations.
“You do not have the permission of Congress to go to war with Iran,” Paul responded, chiding Pompeo for avoiding the question. “Only Congress can declare war.”