Washington, 28 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress the country is not currently engaged in hostilities against Iran, amid ongoing efforts by lawmakers to pass legislation to limit the administration’s range of actions towards Iran.
On the matter of the killing in January of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Pompeo said the assassination made US personnel abroad safer.
“Removing him from the battlefield was a de-escalatory measure,” Pompeo said, adding that the killing made Iran take US deterrence more seriously.
“They recognized the seriousness with which America acted,” he said.
He called Soleimani a “strategic” target who was planning additional attacks on US citizens.
A bipartisan effort in both houses of Congress is currently underway to pass a War Powers Resolution to prevent the White House from going to war against Iran, something the administration says it is not seeking in the first place, stressing its policy is deterrence.
The bill has passed the Senate and is due next month for a vote in the House of Representatives.
Lawmakers from the Democratic Party pushed back against Pompeo’s statement, saying that the administration has not shown that Soleimani posed an imminent threat, which had been the justification for the strike.
Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the committee, said the administration’s policy on Iran has been a “failure” in keeping the US safer and preventing the country from potentially developing a nuclear weapon.
Pompeo admitted during the hearing that Iran has increased the level of its uranium enrichment since Trump took office.
The US will sustain its pressure campaign on Iran, Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.