Iran's parliament increases missile program, Revolutionary Guard budget in response to US sanctions
Iran's parliament overwhelmingly has voted to increase spending on its ballistic missile program and its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in response to recent new American sanctions.
In a session Sunday, 240 lawmakers voted for the bill, with only one abstention. Iran's state-run IRNA news agency says 247 lawmakers were on hand in the session.
The bill will allocate $520 million to develop its missile program to fight Washington's "adventurism" and sanctions, and to boost the foreign operations of the country's Revolutionary Guards.
"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".
"The bill is backed by the foreign ministry and the government and is part of measures by the JCPOA supervision committee to confront the recent US Congress law," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said.
He was referring to a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, known officially as the JCPOA, under which Iran agreed to strict limits on its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.
The bill mandates the government to allocate an additional $260 million for the "development of the missile program" and the same amount to the Revolutionary Guards's foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, state news agency IRNA said.
After Larijani announced the vote results, lawmakers shouted: "Death to America."
The back-and-forth sanctions come as U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to renegotiate the nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers in 2015. That deal saw economic sanctions against Iran lifted in exchange for the Islamic Republic limiting its enrichment of uranium.
Iran meanwhile has launched ballistic missiles in tests, something it is allowed to do under the deal, despite American criticism.
In July, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran over its missile program.