Jul 12, 2019

House votes to bar Trump from striking Iran without congressional approval

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

More than 20 House Republicans joined Democrats on Friday in a vote to restrict President Trump from waging war against Iran without congressional approval, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: The restriction, added to the House's version of a $733 billion defense bill, bars the Trump administration from using federal funds for military action against Tehran. The GOP-led Senate blocked a similar amendment last month in its version of the bill.

The big picture: "The 251-170 vote reflects lawmakers’ growing desire to take back long-ceded authority over matters of war and peace from the executive branch," writes the New York Times.

  • The House bill includes other restrictions on Trump's foreign policy, including a yearlong ban on the sale of certain munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates linked to their military operations in Yemen, per USA Today.

Catch up quick: In June, Trump said that he didn't need congressional approval to attack Iran.

  • When Iran shot down a U.S. drone last month, Trump ordered a retaliatory strike, but abruptly scrapped the mission at the last minute.
  • Earlier this week, three Iranian boats attempted to block a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Britain's Ministry of Defense.

What's next: The vote tees up a confrontation on the Iranian restriction between the House and Senate as they try to work up a compromise version of the defense bill.

Go deeper

Strait of Hormuz re-enters focus for U.S.-Iran tensions

Supertanker Grace 1, which has been seized by Britain, off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. suspects Iran has seized a small oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates, AP reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Tensions between Iran and the U.S. — and Tehran and Washington's allies — are unfolding in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. says it is moving forward with plans to build an international military coalition to protect waters around Iran and Yemen, which includes the straight. President Trump said last month the U.S. was "cocked & loaded" to strike Iran.

Go deeperArrowJul 17, 2019

Iran reportedly seizes U.K. tanker in Strait of Hormuz

An oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: Getty Images

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps said it seized a U.K. tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, the BBC reports.

The latest: Jeremy Hunt, the U.K. foreign secretary, said in a statement on Friday that Iran also seized a second vessel. The second tanker is Liberian-flagged but U.K. owned, according to the BBC. These are the latest in a series of escalatory events in the narrow waterway through which 20% of the world's oil supply flows.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 19, 2019

Iran says it seized foreign oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Thursday that the country's Revolutionary Guard seized a foreign tanker with 12 crew members onboard in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, accusing the ship of smuggling fuel, per the AP.

The big picture: While the Iranian report did not identify which country the ship belonged to, a U.S. official told the AP that it was likely a small, Panamanian-flagged tanker that operated around the United Arab Emirates and had turned off its tracking equipment on Sunday.

Go deeperArrowJul 18, 2019