In challenge to US, Iran adds funding to missile program

In a defiant response to new US sanctions against Tehran, Iran’s parliament approved a bill to strengthen its missile program.

Iranian lawmakers on Sunday overwhelmingly voted to approve a bill aimed at countering the new US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The bill secured 240 yes votes and one abstention, Iran’s IRNA reported.

The legislation is a reaction to a bill ratified recently in the US Senate allowing Washington to impose non-nuclear sanctions against Iran’s missile program and its Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) force.

Representing the government, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi, who served as a senior negotiator in the nuclear talks with the P5+1 powers, described the legislation as “wise,” adding that the government of President Hassan Rouhani will support it.

“The bill has very wisely tried not to violate the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and also give no chance to the other party to manipulate it,” Araqchi said.

According to the bill, Iran’s combined government and military apparatus is tasked with devising a comprehensive strategic plan to counter the “US threats” within a period of six months following ratification of the bill.

The bill also imposes sanctions against several US entities which, Iran says, are involved in supporting terrorism in the Middle East.

As well, the bill allocates a budget of about $5 billion to what is termed as “reinforcing the country’s defensive power, improving deterrent its power, countering terrorism, increasing Iran’s diplomatic leverage and intelligence capabilities, safeguarding the regional stability, supporting the IRGC, development of nuclear propellers and boosting Iran’s defensive capabilities against possible nuclear attacks.”

Half of the budget is allocated to expand Iran’s missile program. Tehran has repeatedly claimed that its military capacity is “defensive in nature” and poses no threat to other countries. However, Israel believes Iran’s weapons are an existential threat.

In order to “fight terrorism,” the bill also allots $2.5 billion to the IRGC Quds Force, the unit entrusted with the regime’s subversive activities abroad.

Ali Larijani, the parliamentary speaker, said that this anti-US legislation was just a first step.

“If Americans, in violation of the nuclear deal, impose sanctions on Iran, the Iranian government, according to article 10 of the anti-US legislation, is obliged to take due measures to counter Washington both in nuclear and non-nuclear spheres,” Larijani asserted.

By: World Israel News Staff