Iran raises budget for missiles, troops after US curbs

TEHERAN • Iran's Parliament has voted to allocate US$520 million (S$708 million) to develop its missile programme to fight the US' "adventurism" and sanctions, and to boost the foreign operations of the country's Revolutionary Guards.

Sunday's vote follows a spike in tensions between Teheran and Washington since US President Donald Trump took office in January with a vow to get tough on the Islamic republic - and after the United States imposed fresh sanctions against Iran last month, targeting its missile programme.

"The Americans should know that this was our first action," said Speaker Ali Larijani, after announcing an overwhelming majority vote for a package "to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region".

A total of 240 lawmakers voted for the Bill, out of the 244 parliamentarians present.

It mandates the government allocate an additional US$260 million for missile development and the same amount to the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, state news agency IRNA said.

The Quds Force leads Iran's military role in Syria and Iraq.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the Bill had the support of the government.

The Bill is "very smart, particularly because it doesn't violate the nuclear deal and doesn't allow the other side to make excuses," he added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2017, with the headline 'Iran raises budget for missiles, troops after US curbs'. Print Edition | Subscribe