Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks in Tehran
13 August, 2017, 13:35
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 United States.
"The Americans should know that this was our first action", said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, after announcing overwhelming support for a package "to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region".
The general outlines of the motion were passed with 240 votes in favour and one abstention during an open parliamentary session, Xinhua news agency reported.
The move follows a spike in tensions between Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump took office in January with a vow to get tough on the Islamic republic.
The bill would allocate over $260 million each to Iran's ballistic missile program and the Quds Force - the external arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - which is deployed to Iraq and Syria.
Tehran says the measures violate a 2015 deal with world powers that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
"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. 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 USA tougher sanctions.
The measure also targets Americans assisting the violation of rights of Muslims and black people, those who support acts of repressive governments in the Middle East and those behind USA atrocities during its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It considers the entirety of the U.S. military forces and intelligence operatives in the region to be supporters of regional terrorist groups, and subject to punitive measures.
The 27-article draft was endorsed after it was brought forward in the Parliament by the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in July.