In challenge to US, Iran adds funding to missile program

Posted August 14, 2017

On Sunday, Iran's parliament supported the bill on additional $520 million for the ballistic missiles program and for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, called the nuclear deal "a sign of Iran's goodwill on the worldwide stage". The vote came after the United States imposed fresh USA sanctions against Iran in July, targeting its missile programme.

The general outlines of the motion were passed with 240 votes in favor and 1 abstention during an open parliamentary session on Sunday morning.

After Larijani announced the vote results, lawmakers shouted: "Death to America".

Tehran says the measures violate a 2015 deal with world powers that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

The budget bill allocates $260m for the continuing development of the missile programme and $260 million for the Quds Force, Irna news agency reported.

The Iranian measure "was designed wisely so that it does not violate the (nuclear deal) and provide excuses for opposing sides", Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said.

Mr Trump has recently backed away from his key campaign promise to withdraw from the nuclear agreement.

The United States has had no diplomatic ties with the Iran since 1980, and Trump has halted the direct contacts initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.

In response the country's parliament has now given initial approval to a bill to increase spending on their missile programme.

A number of recent close encounters between U.S. ships and Iranian vessels in the Gulf have added to the tensions between the two countries.

The Iranian plan would require Iran's government and armed forces to draw up a strategy to counter U.S. violations of human rights around the world, and to support Iranian bodies and individuals affected by American sanctions.