Iran votes to spend $260m on missile programme

Iran’s parliament has approved more than half a billion dollars in funding for the country’s missile programme and foreign operations in reaction to US sanctions.

President Donald Trump signed legislation to impose fresh sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme in July.

In response the country’s parliament has now given initial approval to a bill to increase spending on their missile programme.

The measure was voted for by 240 out of 244 MPs present.

Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani said the bill was the country’s “first action… to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region”.

Chants of “Death to America” broke out as the bill was passed, according to the country’s state broadcaster IRIB.

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The bill will allocate $260m (£200m) to Iran’s ballistic missile programme and the same amount to Quds Force, the special forces unit of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.

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

Deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi told members of parliament that the government supported the new bill.

He praised the bill, saying it “was designed wisely so that it does not violate the (nuclear deal) and provide excuses for opposing sides”.

A second vote will now take place on the bill before it is submitted to a clerical body for final approval.

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

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (2nd L) talks with journalists during a rally against the Iran nuclear deal on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol September 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people gathered for the rally, organized by the Tea Party Patriots, which featured conservative pundits and politicians
Donald Trump talks with journalists during a rally against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015

During his campaign he threatened to tear up the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which he has called “the worst deal ever”.

But last month he backed away from his pledge to withdraw from the agreement.

The deal eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme and was endorsed by a UN resolution.

Iran denies developing ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons in violation of the agreement and has accused the US of breaking its word by imposing fresh sanctions.

A number of recent close encounters between US ships and Iranian vessels in the Gulf have added to the tensions between the two countries.

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