Iran advances plan to boost missile programme

Iranian parliament gives approval for rise in defence spending following new US sanctions

File image of Iran’s newly-upgraded Sayyad-3 air defence missiles. File photograph: Iranian defence ministry/AFP/Getty Images

File image of Iran’s newly-upgraded Sayyad-3 air defence missiles. File photograph: Iranian defence ministry/AFP/Getty Images

 

Iran’s parliament gave initial approval on Sunday to a Bill to boost spending on Tehran’s missile programme and the elite Revolutionary Guards, in retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the US.

Politicians overwhelmingly approved the outlines of the Bill to “counter America’s terrorist and adventurist actions”, as some chanted “Death to America”, the state broadcaster IRIB reported.

The measure came in retaliation to legislation passed by US Congress and signed by US president Donald Trump in early August to impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile programme.

Iran denies its missile programme violates a UN resolution which endorsed Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and called upon the Islamic Republic not to conduct activities related to ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it does not design such missiles.

New strategy

The proposed Iranian legislation would require Iran’s government and armed forces to draw up a strategy to counter US violations of human rights across the world, and to support Iranian bodies and individuals affected by US sanctions.

It would also allocate more than $260 million (about €220 million) each to Iran’s ballistic missile programme and the Quds Force - the external arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - which has been deployed to battlefields in Iraq and Syria.

Deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi told members of parliament that the government backed the Bill, which he said “was designed wisely so that it does not violate the [nuclear deal] and provide excuses for opposing sides”, state news agency IRNA reported.

The Bill must now pass a second vote in parliament before being submitted to a clerical body for final approval and passage into law.

Reuters