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Rand Paul Rips Pompeo, You Don’t Have the Authority To Go to War with Iran

April 15, 2019 (EIRNS)—On April 11, during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) clashed with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on whether the Trump Administration thinks its recent classification of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) gives it the authority to go to war with Iran. Saner circles in Washington have expressed concern that neocon elements inside the administration are trying to use the FTO designation to prepare the groundwork for military action against Iran.

When Senator Paul asked Pompeo whether he considered that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which allowed the U.S. to fight entities responsible for the 9/11 attacks, also included Iran, Pompeo punted, saying he’d prefer “to defer to lawyers” on that issue. But, he continued, “there’s no doubt there is a connection” between the Iranian government and al-Qaeda, which was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

“They have hosted al-Qaeda, they have permitted al-Qaeda to transit their country. No doubt, there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda. Period. Full stop.”

Paul corrected Pompeo on the fact that there is no anti-West alliance between the Iranian government and Sunni extremists and that, on the contrary, Iran “actually would just as soon eradicate Sunni extremists and have actually evicted quite a few and imprisoned quite a few, so I don’t think that dog hunts very well.” But, Paul continued, “I am troubled that the administration can’t unequivocally say that you haven’t been given power” to have war with Iran.

“I can tell you explicitly, you have not been given power or authority by Congress to have war with Iran, and in any kind of semblance of a sane world, you’d have to come back and ask us before you go into Iran.... If you want a war in Iran you have to come to us. It’s the way the Constitution was written. This is our history.”

Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, is one of those concerned about the implications of designating the IRGC as an FTO. In an article published in the American Conservative April 11, “America Just Declared War on Iran and Nobody Blinked,” Ritter warns of the dangerous consequences of this action, which, he warns, shreds “the prior truce” and puts the lives of thousands of U.S. service members at risk.

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