Pompeo to testify on Iran in February
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on U.S. policy in Iran before the end of the month, the chairman of the committee told The Hill.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the committee charged with oversight of U.S. foreign policy, said he expects the secretary to appear before the committee by the end of February after missing a scheduled hearing on January 29.
“We expect him to come, expect him to come at the end of the month,” Engel said. “We’re working out the details.”
It will mark the first time lawmakers can publicly question the secretary over the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, an action that brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war.
Over 100 U.S. service members in Iraq were injured in retaliatory strikes launched by Tehran in the days after Soleimani’s death, and 176 civilians were killed when the Islamic republic mistakenly downed a Ukrainian passenger jet leaving the Iranian capital.
The confrontation has thrown into question the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq and its mission in the coalition to counter and prevent a resurgence of ISIS.
Congressional lawmakers have received multiple private briefings on U.S. policy towards Iran and in Iraq following the Soleimani killing, but Republicans and Democrats have split along party lines over the justification of the strike.
Soleimani was the leader of the Quds Force and responsible for Iran’s proxy fighting forces in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Gaza Strip.
The administration argues the Soleimani strike was launched to prevent an “imminent” attack on American interests. President Trump has suggested the general was planning a large-scale attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Democrats charge the administration failed to make a case that an attack was imminent and that the strike was launched without a clear strategy.
Pompeo failed to show for a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Jan. 29, and Engel said at the time the secretary committed to appearing before the committee.
“I asked him to come to talk to us about Iran policy,” Engel told the Hill on Wednesday. “We had hearings on that with witnesses; we wanted him there then, he didn’t come.”
He added he expects the secretary to appear before the committee twice, once on Iran policy and then to explain the State Department’s budget for 2021.
“So we expect him to come in February on Iraq, and expect him to come in March on the budget, Engel said.
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