Both chambers of the US Congress are scheduled to be briefed amid the Trump administration’s escalating of tensions with Iran.
Top security officials — including acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford — will appear before the House of Representatives and the Senate on Tuesday.
Some high-profile lawmakers and congressional leaders have already been briefed individually, such as Trump’s ally, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has backed Trump’s anti-Iran policy.
“It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq,” Graham said on Twitter. “If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated we must deliver an overwhelming military response… Stand firm Mr. President.”
Unless Trump bypasses the law, he would need baking from the Democratic-held House and Republican-held Senate to go to war with Iran.
Trump earlier dismissed reports that he was trying to initiate negotiations with Iran in the wake of US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, tightening sanctions against Tehran and even blacklisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Military confrontation with Tehran could also ruin the president’s chances of reelection as he had promised his supporters to stay away from global conflicts as much as possible.
Iran can defend itself: Rep. Gallego
While Congress war hawks trumpet prospects of war with Iran, the president’s opponents accuse him of creating tensions in the word.
“Once again it bears repeating, @potus is NOT setting up war with #Iran,” Florida Republican Senator Rubio claimed in a tweet Monday. “Faced with steady, consistent & credible stream of information indicating serious threat from #IRGC proxy forces, he has positioned US military in the region to defend Americans & respond to any attack.”
Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego, meanwhile, slammed Trump’s anti-Iran policy reminding him that Iran can actually “defend itself fairly well.”
“What I learned only made me more concerned that this administration is trying to create a situation that will get us into war,” House Armed Services Committee member Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego said Sunday on MSNBC. “There’s nothing that’s, in terms of our security or anything that I saw, that’s an existential threat to the security of the United States and even to our interests in the region. While there may be some security threats to them, it’s nothing that would require us to actually move so many assets at that area and to threaten an open war with a country actually that can defend itself fairly well.”
Iran has time and again asserted that it is not seeking war but stands ready to defend its interests in the region.