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President Trump Vetoes Bill Aimed at Limiting His Power to Wage War on Iran
US President Donald Trump signs one of his many executive orders in August 2018. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

President Trump Vetoes Bill Aimed at Limiting His Power to Wage War on Iran

US President Donald Trump has vetoed legislation passed by both chambers of Congress – including the Republican-controlled Senate – that aims to curb his ability to conduct military operations against Iran. In a letter to lawmakers explaining his decision, the US leader suggested that “this indefinite prohibition [was] unnecessary and dangerous,” adding that the bill would violate Article II of the Constitution, which says that “the president shall be commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States.” While the power to formally declare war rests with Congress, legal precedent has, historically, conferred the president with broad and substantive war powers along with the authority to direct military campaigns. In this respect, President Trump stressed that the resolution was altogether “unnecessary because it rests upon a faulty premise,” given that the US is not currently engaged in an all-out confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Instead, he contended that the use of force against Tehran – including, most notably, the January assassination of Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike – was defensive in nature and necessary to maintain deterrence amid repeated attacks on American assets in Iraq widely attributed to Iranian proxies. Finally, President Trump emphasized that the legislation could “hinder [his] ability to protect United States forces, allies and partners, including Israel, from the continued threat posed by Iran.” It comes as the American administration is engaged in a full-court diplomatic press to have a UN arms embargo on Iran extended beyond October.

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