Pelosi says House to vote on limiting Trump’s military actions in Iran

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been at loggerheads with President Donald J. Trump, and has led the impeachment against him. (AFP)
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Updated 06 January 2020

Pelosi says House to vote on limiting Trump’s military actions in Iran

  • NATO ambassadors to hold an extraordinary meeting in Brussels on Monday
  • UNESCO issues reminder that US and Iran signed up to commitment not to harm cultural heritage

BERLIN/BRUSSELS: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will introduce and vote on a war powers resolution this week to limit US President Donald Trump’s military actions regarding Iran.

“It reasserts Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days,” Pelosi said.

In Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said US threats of sanctions against Iraq were not helpful and the the country should be convinced by arguments and not threats.

Officials from Germany, UK, and France will meet on Monday to discuss Iran’s latest announcements on the 2015 nuclear deal and will issue a statement afterwards, Maas said.

He added that Iran’s decision to roll back commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal “could be first step to end of this agreement.”

“We will definitely talk to Iran again. What has been announced is, however, not consistent with the agreement,” Maas told Deutschlandfunk radio.

“(The situation) has not got easier, and this could be the first step to the end of this agreement, which would be a big loss so we will weigh this up very, very responsibly now.”

NATO ambassadors will hold an extraordinary meeting at their Brussels headquarters on Monday as Middle East tensions mounted after US forces killed a top Iranian general.

“The North Atlantic Council will address the situation in the region,” a NATO official said.

“The secretary general decided to convene the meeting of NATO ambassadors following consultations with allies.”

The EU’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell voiced regret at Tehran’s latest decision to reduce its commitments to the beleaguered 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Deeply regret Iran’s latest announcement on #JCPOA. As ever we will rely on @iaeaorg verification,” Borrell tweeted, using an abbreviation for the deal’s formal name.

“Full implementation of #NuclearDeal by all is now more important than ever, for regional stability & global security. I will continue working with all participants on way forward.”

The resolution is likely to win approval in the Democratic-led House, but prospects for passage are less certain in the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, many of whom have said they support the president’s action on Iran.

Iraq’s parliament called for US and other foreign troops to leave as the backlash against the US killing on Friday of a top Iranian general grew, and Trump doubled down on threats to target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliates.

Trump also threatened sanctions against Iraq and said that if US troops were required to leave, Iraq’s government would have to pay Washington for the cost of a “very extraordinarily expensive” air base there.

Also on Monday, the US accused Russia and China of blocking a United Nations Security Council statement “underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises” after a Dec. 31 attack on the US embassy in Baghdad.
Such statements by the 15-member Security Council have to be agreed by consensus.
The US mission to the UN said 27 countries spoke out against the attack on the Baghdad embassy “in stark contrast to the United Nations Security Council’s silence due to two permanent members – Russia and China – not allowing a statement to proceed.”
Meanwhile, UNESCO said on Monday that the US has signed treaties committing it not to harm cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict.
Trump on Sunday stood by his threat to go after Iranian cultural sites, warning of a “major retaliation” if Iran strikes back.
The UN cultural body said that under provisions of the 1954 and 1972 conventions — which have been ratified by both the United States and Iran — signatory states undertake not to take any deliberate measures which might damage cultural and natural heritage on the territory of other states party to those conventions.


Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

Updated 22 October 2020

Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

  • Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government
  • Both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues

LONDON: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson discussed security challenges in the Middle East on Thursday.
A-Khadimi met the UK leader at Downing Street as part of an a European tour. 
Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government as they discussed economic reforms, the coronavirus pandemic and the continued effort to defeat Daesh.
The Twitter account of Al-Kadhimi's office said both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues in Iraq and the region. 
They also agreed on more cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
“It was agreed to increase more cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, as well as in the political and economic sectors, in light of the economic challenges that Iraq faces,” his office said.
Prior to his UK trip, Al-Kadhimi met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
During these visits, Al-Kadhimi discussed Iraq’s main challenges such as the fight against terrorism and foreign interference in its affairs.
The Iraqi leader, who became prime minister in May, has a particularly affinity with the UK, having lived there for many years after fleeing Iraq in the 1980s.