Iran eyes more funds for missiles, Guards after U.S. sanctions

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's parliament gave initial approval on Sunday to a bill to boost spending on Tehran's missile program and the elite Revolutionary Guards in retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the United States.

Lawmakers 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 U.S Congress and signed by U.S. President Donald Trump in early August to impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile program.

Iran denies its missile program violates a U.N. resolution which endorsed Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and calls 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.

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 U.S. sanctions.

The measure would also 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 has been deployed to battlefields in Iraq and Syria.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi 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 before being submitted to a clerical body for final approval and passage into law.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alison Williams)

08/13/2017 4:28

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