Iran parliament increases missile funds in response to USA sanctions

US president Donald Trump has been increasing pressure on Iran over compliance with the UN-endorsed deal to lift nuclear sanctions on Tehran. Nicholas Kamm  AFP

In response to this, Iran complained to the UN Security Council about the US sanctions and accused Washington of breaching the nuclear deal.

After Larijani announced the vote results, lawmakers shouted: "Death to America".

Iranian lawmakers on Sunday overwhelmingly voted to approve a bill aimed at countering the new USA sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian parliament voted Sunday for allocating $520 million on the development of its own missile program in response to U.S. sanctions, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

The countermeasures, which were approved by 240 Iranian lawmakers on Sunday, would see more money allocated to Iran's missile program as well as to the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards' extraterritorial operations branch, among other measures.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said the parliament's vote to approve the motion was just the first step, adding that if Washington proceeds with its anti-Tehran policies, the law will take effect.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is the head of an Iranian commission tasked with monitoring the agreement's implementation, told MPs that the government backed the bill which he described "very strong".

Iran denies its missile programme violates a United Nations resolution that endorsed Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and calls upon the Islamic Republic not to conduct activities related to ballistic missiles created to deliver nuclear weapons.

The measure would also allocate over $260 million each to Iran's ballistic missile program and the Quds Force - the external arm of the IRGC, which has sent military advisers to Iraq and Syria to fight terrorists.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said Iran's missile program is for deterrent purposes. "Iran boasts potential and actual options to confront hostile USA actions".

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

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