- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2020

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is calling on the Trump administration to “admit” that its ongoing pressure campaign against Iran is not working.

The comments from Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, came just days after Iranian-backed military group Kata’ib Hezbollah launched an attack on a base north of Baghdad that killed two U.S. service members and one British soldier and wounded 14 others.

The U.S. responded Thursday evening with airstrikes on five of the group’s weapons storage facilities that the Pentagon says “will degrade Kata’ib Hezbollah’s ability to conduct future strikes.”

In a statement Friday evening, Mr. Menendez, the ranking member of the committee, said “that in attributing Wednesday’s attacks to Iranian-backed militia groups, the Trump Administration must admit its efforts to deter Iranian aggression are failing and American service members are paying the ultimate sacrifice.”

The escalation in tension between Washington and Tehran quickly resurfaced just as the House approved a war powers resolution aimed at limiting the president’s authority to use force against Iran without explicit congressional approval.

The bill — while expected to be vetoed by President Trump — “directs the President to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces for hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force against Iran.”

Mr. Menendez highlighted the bipartisan support for the resolution that allowed it to be approved by the Republican-held Senate and said this majority “has made clear it does not support an unnecessary war with Iran.”

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

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