Iran Will "Never" Have A Nuclear Weapon, Says Donald Trump

Trump's White House address on Iran

Trump's White House address on Iran

Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were detailing the additional sanctions President Donald Trump promised earlier this week against the Iranian regime in response to the attack in Iraq, which was spurred by the US decision to target Iran's top military leader, Maj.

The administration first prepared the sanctions in December, before tensions escalated between the USA and Iran, leading to the January 2 US airstrike in Baghdad that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

"The United States will continue to counter the Iranian regime's destructive and destabilizing behavior".

The mostly symbolic but politically charged vote, 224 to 194, was largely along party lines, with three members of Trump's Republican Party joining Democrats in approving the measure demanding the president not engage in military action against Iran unless authorized by Congress.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that sanctions so far "have deprived the regime of billions in revenue".

"To play this game with the War Powers Act, which I think is unconstitutional, is that whether you mean to or not, you're empowering the enemy", Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally in the Senate, said on Wednesday. I don't know. But we didn't hear it in the classified intelligence briefing, ' the senator said. "Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests and those attacks were imminent".

The push is likely to be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate, but at a time of increased tensions between the United States and Iran, it serves as an official, yet symbolic, congressional expression of dissent with the White House's handling of the crisis. "This was going to happen, and American lives were at risk", he said.

These are just the latest sanctions the Trump administration has placed on Iran in an effort to punish Tehran for promoting instability and terrorist activities in the Middle East and to deter it from future attacks.

The House speaker added that the killing of Soleimani had actually endangered Americans.

Some 52 percent of respondents claim the attack made it more likely that Iran would proceed to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran has been a target of American sanctions for more than 40 years, but Mnuchin shrugged off the suggestion they have in fact fostered unrest, such as the embassy protest in Baghdad and the killing of a USA contractor - two events widely seen as sparking the latest tensions. No one was injured.

Ahead of the sanctions, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that current ones "were very severe, but now it's increased substantially".

The administration has already reinstated all of the US sanctions that were eased under the 2015 nuclear deal, which has caused significant economic hardship in Iran and cut its oil exports to historic lows.

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