Iran parliament increases missile funds in response to U.S. sanctions

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

Head of the Federation Council's global affairs committee Konstantin Kosachev says the decision to increase financing of the missile program, adopted by the Iranian parliament, is a logical response to the US tougher sanctions.

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 global stage".

Sanctions against Iran is mainly in response to Tehran's growing missile program.

During Sunday's voting session, 240 out of 244 legislators approved the missile spending bill.

Iran denies violating the United Nations resolution which endorsed the Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal, preventing them from conducting activities related to ballistic missiles created to deliver nuclear weapons.

Iran has launched ballistic missiles in tests, something it is allowed to do under the deal, despite American criticism.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is the head of an Iranian commission tasked with monitoring the agreement's implementation, told MPs that the government backed the bill which he described as "very strong".

Araghchi said that the Iranian bill was a far-reaching response to the measures passed by US Congress that Iranian media have called the "mother of sanctions" because they sum up all existing anti-Iran sanctions.

The Iranian legislation must pass a second vote before submission for final approval.

The bill also mandates the economy ministry to prioritise deals with countries and companies that ignore financial and military sanctions on Iran.

Other government bodies, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Intelligence, as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Quds Force, and the Islamic Republic Army, will provide a comprehensive strategic plan "to counter USA threats and bullying", the bill suggests, as cited by Iranian media.

Vanessa Coleman

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