Trump Administration Officials to Brief Senators on Iran Next Week

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Top officials from the U.S. State Department will conduct a classified briefing next week on Iran policy for members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the committee said on Friday, amid a push for legislation to restrict President Donald Trump’s ability to wage war on Iran.

Trump’s special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, will lead the Tuesday briefing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who leaves on Wednesday for an international trip to Ukraine and other countries, is not participating.

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Senate leaders had said they expected to vote as soon as this week on an Iran war powers resolution, but there had been no word on when that vote might take place.

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month voted to stop Trump from further military action against Iran after the U.S. killing of a top Iranian commander caused a spike in tensions in the Middle East. Iran retaliated with missile strikes on Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops.

The resolution faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, which has been conducting Trump’s impeachment trial this week.

Trump administration officials, including Pompeo, at a briefing earlier this month failed to convince Democratic U.S. lawmakers, and some Republicans, that an imminent threat had justified the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

Republican Senator Mike Lee, following the classified briefing, said it was the worst briefing he had heard in nine years in the Senate, at least on a military issue, and that he would support the war powers resolution.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Chris Reese)