House Approves Measure To Restrain President Trump's Actions On Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks towards the Senate after briefing members of Congress on last week's targeted killing of Iran's senior military

Decide mechanism for troop withdrawal, Iraqi PM tells US

General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's elite foreign paramilitary and espionage service, known as the Quds Force, was killed on Friday when missiles fired by a USA drone struck his vehicle as he left Baghdad airport.

"A few minutes ago his body was transferred to the martyrs section of Kerman cemetery", the semi-official news agency ISNA reported, adding that Soleimani's interment had begun. Pelosi says Soleimani's killing was "provocative and disproportionate".

Another mourner said Soleimani's assassination "boils the blood of the Iranian people".

"Today because of the heavy congestion of the crowd unfortunately a number of our fellow citizens who were mourning were injured and a number were killed", emergency medical services chief Pirhossein Kolivand told state television.

Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton reportedly formally presented the option of assassinating Soleimani and other Revolutionary Guard leaders in May, after the U.S. deployment of a carrier strike group to the Middle East and a series of tanker sabotage attacks which Washington blamed on Tehran.

Also killed in the strike on Soleimani's convoy was the influential Iraqi leader of an Iran-backed militia, known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Soleimani, who commanded the elite Quds Force, was responsible for building up Tehran's network of proxy armies across the Middle East.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander was killed in Baghdad by a United States drone in the early hours of January 3, putting the two countries on the brink of war. Tehran says any operations overseas are at the request of governments and that it offers "advisory support".

But in a response, the State Department said that representatives in Baghdad would not focus on pulling out USA troops.

"We will tell you probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad", Trump said in a clip of an interview with Fox News. Even the weakest option would prove "a historic nightmare for the Americans", he said.

Soleimani was a national hero to many Iranians, whether supporters of the clerical leadership or not, but viewed as a risky villain by Western governments opposed to Iran's arc of influence running across the Levant and into the Gulf region. Representatives from those groups, including the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, attended funeral events in Tehran.

Soleimani was revered as a hero among Shiite Muslims in Iran and Iraq for battling against the Sunni Islamic State terrorists. "Otherwise we'll stay there", Trump said.

Reuters and other media reported on Monday that the USA military had sent a letter to Iraqi officials informing them US troops were preparing to leave. This contradicts sentiments expressed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told reporters shortly after Soleimani's killing that the Iranian commander posted an "imminent" threat to the U.S. and its allies. Gen. Qassem Soleimani has imperiled the mission of more than 5,000 USA troops in Iraq to fight the Islamic State, prompting Iraqi lawmakers to urge their expulsion and hardening sentiments against Western influence.

The attack has led to widespread condemnation in Iran.

Abdul Mahdi asked Pompeo to "send delegates to put in place the tools to carry out the parliament's decision", his office said in a statement, adding that the forces used in the killing had entered Iraq or used its airspace without permission.

Trump has slammed past American presidents for becoming entangled in the Middle East and has pledged to pull the USA out.

The United States has imposed new economic sanctions on Iran, slashing Iranian oil exports, and Tehran said on Sunday it was dropping limitations on uranium enrichment, in its latest step back from commitments to the deal. But the Washington DC-based National Iranian American Council expressed concern in a statement on Monday about "alarming reports" that over 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans had been detained and questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at Canada's border with Washington State.

Democratic critics of the Republican president have said Trump was reckless in authorising the strike. His administration said Soleimani was planning new attacks on US interests without giving evidence.

Southern California is home to the largest concentration of Iranians outside that country and hundreds of pro-democracy Iranian-Americans are set to meet on Saturday in a long-planned convention at which the death of Soleimani is likely to be a major topic of discussion, Sharif said.

"If there is another military escalation, it will be very hard to do what's needed to get this on the right track, which is taking some time away from this to create space for diplomats on both sides to figure out a path forward, creatively, to suit both sides' interests", said Slim.

Trump administration officials will provide a classified briefing for USA senators on Wednesday on events in Iraq after some lawmakers accused the White House of risking a broad conflict without a strategy.

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