- The Washington Times - Monday, July 1, 2019

The State Department has told Congress it does not intend to cite the post-September 11 presidential war authority to take military action against Iran, with certain exceptions.

Lawmakers from both parties have cautioned the Trump White House against invoking the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which targeted those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, as the justification for war with Iran, even as tensions between Tehran and Washington have soared in recent weeks.

In a little-noticed letter sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Friday, Assistant Secretary of State for legislative affairs Mary Elizabeth Taylor said that “the administration has not, to date, interpreted either AUMF as authorizing military force against Iran, except as may be necessary to defend U.S or partner forces engaged in counterterrorism operations of operations to establish a stable, democratic Iraq.”



Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, and Rep. Ted Deutch, Florida Democrat, had pressed the department to provide a legal basis for military action against Iran.

Lawmakers for weeks have been at odds over whether President Trump has the authority to use military force against Iran without congressional approval. Many Republicans have argued that the administration does not need such authority, while most Democrats have declared the White House cannot take such action without Congress’ authorization.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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