Iranian Parliament, Facing U.S. Sanctions, Vote To Raise ...

Mr. Rouhani has been seeking an easing of tensions with the United States since his first term. The bill proposed by Parliament needs the approval of an oversight watchdog, but that seems like a technicality, experts say.

Iran’s total military budget increase is less than $800 million, a fraction of the cost of the latest arms purchase by Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional nemesis, from American defense companies. The Saudis ordered $110 billion worth of United States arms in May.

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Iran will spend $260 million on its ballistic missile program and around $300 million on activities by the Quds brigade, the international arm of the Revolutionary Guards corps. The rest of the money will go to other military and intelligence projects, state media reported.

The Trump administration has been connecting Iran’s missile program to the nuclear agreement. A United Nations resolution calls for Iran not to undertake activity related to ballistic missiles designed to have a nuclear warhead. While the resolution does not prohibit such tests, Iran says it does not want to make nuclear warheads — something the International Atomic Energy Agency verified during continuing inspections.

Members of the Iranian establishment, even hard-liners who have criticized the agreement, say they want the agreement to stay in place. And they certainly do not want to be blamed for its failure, politicians say. Responding to the vote, the deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, told members of Parliament that the government backed the bill, which he said “was designed wisely” so that it did not violate the nuclear deal and “provide excuses for opposing sides,” the state news agency IRNA reported.

Iran’s armed forces, controlled by hard-liners, have been responding to American pressures with more, not fewer, missile tests — just as North Korea has.

The top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, accused the United States on Sunday of actively seeking to weaken Iran’s armed forces ever since the nuclear agreement was signed.

Speaking at a ceremony for an Iranian soldier executed by the Islamic State in Syria, Mr. Jafari said that enemies had recently been “seeking to undermine these capabilities, and since the deal, they have been imposing defensive and missile sanctions to weaken the country’s armed forces.”

A version of this article appears in print on August 14, 2017, on Page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Defying U.S., Iran Votes To Raise Military Spending. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/world/middleeast/iranian-parliament-facing-us-sanctions-vote-to-raise-defense-spending.html

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