The proposal came amidst growing tensions between the US and the Islamic Republic of Iran، with the former scaling up its military presence in the Middle East and the latter discontinuing its obligations under the 2015 nuclear agreement، Sputnik News agency reported.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday rejected a Democratic proposal to require congressional approval before the US could conduct a military operation against Iran، The Hill reported.
The panel voted 13-9 against a proposal intended to block Trump from using funds to carry out a military strike in or against Iran without a congressional sign-off، The Hill report says.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy announced the results of the voting through Twitter، saying that every Republican in the Committee has voted against the suggested bill، apart from Senator Rand Paul.
According to The Hill، Chris Murphy and Senator Tom Udall said that they were going to introduce their proposal as an amendment to a Syrian foreign policy bill. "Congress is a co-equal branch that has the sole authority to declare war – so we don’t have to sit around and watch this administration spiral us into another endless conflict in the Middle East،" Udall said as cited by The Hill.
Murphy noted that Congress should "remind this administration that they do not have legal authorization to launch a war against Iran without our consent and that no one else is responsible but Trump for putting us on this blind campaign of escalation with no off-ramp،" said The Hill.
The vote followed a briefing on Iran، that top US official including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan، conducted for US lawmakers.
After the briefing which took place on Tuesday، Shanahan claimed that the Pentagon had deterred possible attacks by deploying forces to the region.
"We have deterred attacks based on our reporting of assets — we deterred attacks against American forces. Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation"، Shanahan told reporters on Capitol Hill، quoted by Reuters. "This is about deterrence، not about war. We are not about going to war. This is about continuing to protect our interests in the Middle East"، Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday.
Relations between the US and Iran have deteriorated following US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)، also known as the nuclear deal in May last year، and a subsequent re-imposition of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Recently Washington has ramped up pressure on Tehran، designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization and deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force with nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East. In a most recent move، the US announced the deployment of additional MIM-104 Patriot missile defence systems to the region and is considering the deployment of about 10،000 additional troops to the Middle East. Tehran has reacted to these US actions by designating the US Central Command (CENTCOM) as terrorists، and announcing that it will suspend some of its voluntary obligations under the JCPOA. On 14 May Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei noted that the country will continue resisting the US، but stressed that there would be no war between the two states.
At the same time، US president Donald Trump، while opting out of the possibility of the war with Iran، recently stated that should Iran act against US interests، Washington would respond with "great force."