In challenge to US, Iran adds funding to missile program

Iranian and foreign leaders attend the swearing-in ceremony of Iran's President Hasan Rouhani for his second term in office in Tehran on Aug. 5 2017

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

In a session on Sunday, a total of 240 politicians out of 244 present voted to allocate $520m to develop the country's missile programme and boost foreign operations of the paramilitary troops, with only one abstention.

"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".

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The additional U.S. sanctions put in place last month directly target the missile programme and the IRGC.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said the government fully supports the new law passed by the parliament against the USA terrorist and adventurous measures in the region, describing it as a "wise" and "appropriate" move against Washington's enmities towards Iran. 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.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have grown since President Trump took office.

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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 bill has very wisely tried not to violate the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and also give no chance to the other party to manipulate it", Araqchi said.

"Iran boasts potential and actual options to confront hostile USA actions", said Araqchi.

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It will also require Iran's government and armed forces to draw up a plan to counter United States violations of human rights around the world and to support Iranian bodies and individuals affected by sanctions.

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