In retaliation to new sanctions implemented by the Trump Administration against the Islamic Republic for continuing its renegade nuclear program, an overwhelming majority of Iran’s parliament members voted to boost spending on the nation’s ballistic missile program and its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard – as a challenge to the United States.
While casting their votes during the legislative session, parliamentary members chanted “Death to America,” according to the Associated Press.
Challenging the U.S.
It was reported by IRNA – Iran’s state-run news agency – that 240 of the 247 lawmakers attending the session casted votes of approval to move the spending plan forward to the Guardian Council oversight committee for its impending final approval.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi – who was also the senior nuclear negotiator present at the voting session – gave assurance that the government of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would support the military funding bill.
“The bill has very wisely tried not to violate the (nuclear deal) and also gives no chance to the other party to manipulate it,” Araghchi asserted, according to IRNA.
In all, nearly a billion dollars will be apportioned to beefing up Iran’s military force, which many fear will be used to threaten and wreak havoc with its enemies – including the U.S. and Israel.
“Under terms of the bill, some $800 million will be put toward several projects, including the Defense Ministry and its intelligence agencies,” Fox News reported. “Among the agencies receiving money would be the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force, an expeditionary force run by Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who has been in Syria and Iraq. The Guard, separate from Iran’s conventional military forces, answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.”
Via the bill, Iran attempted to punish America by implementing 16 different measures as payback for activities it feels were threatening its jihadist operations.
“The bill also imposes a visa and travel ban on U.S. military and security organizations and their commanders who have provided financial, intelligence, military, logistic and training support to terrorists in the region, naming the Islamic State group and the Syrian branch of al Qaeda,” the conservative news hub added. “Iranian officials often accuse the U.S. of being involved with both groups. The U.S. is actively involved in a massive military campaign against the Islamic State group and has struck the al-Qaida affiliate as well.”
American officials who have interacted with the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) Iranian exile group had their visas banned as a result of the bill.
“Prominent U.S. lawmakers and politicians have met with the group [MEK] and spoken at its rallies,” Fox News noted. “The MEK has paid one of Trump’s Cabinet members and at least one adviser in the past for giving such speeches.”
Strengthening Iran’s seafaring fleet was another objective of the bill, which IRNA said would fund the development of Iran’s nuclear propellers.
“In December, Rouhani ordered officials to draw up plans on building nuclear-powered ships, something that appears to be allowed under the nuclear deal, over an earlier dispute on U.S. sanctions under the Obama administration,” Fox recounted.
The timing of the Iran’s bill gives every indication that it was devised as retaliation against President Donald Trump for adding pressure on the Islamic Republic to stop violating Obama’s nuke deal by continuing to produce and enrich uranium to complete the production of its nuclear warheads – a process Iranian leaders continue insist is not taking place.
“Trump signed a sanctions bill earlier this month that included new measures imposed on Iran,” Fox noted. “That sparked new outrage in Iran, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accusing Trump of trying to ‘kill’ the nuclear deal. Earlier this month, Iran reiterated a previous assertion that new U.S. sanctions against it would constitute a ‘breach’ of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and a group of Western powers.”
In stark contrast to former President Barack Obama’s pro-Iranian foreign policy that essentially empowered and financed Iran to continue its renegade nuke program, Trump has used rhetoric over the past two years promising that he will be tough on the Islamic nation as it continues to threaten its enemies.
“Tensions between Tehran and Washington have grown since President Trump took office,” U.K.’s News.Sky.com reported. “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 [and instead added new sanctions earlier this month].”
American terrorism … what?
Ali Larijani, who serves as Iran’s parliament speaker, claimed that the U.S. – not Iran – is a terrorist nation.
“[The bill is Iran’s] first action … to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region,” Larijani declared, according to the U.K. news site.
Despite the Iran’s defiance, lawmakers insisted that the bill does not violate the nuclear deal, but Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (ARPO) CEO Adnan Tabatabai – an Iran analyst based in Germany – noted that the eventual passage works to ensure the U.S. that Iran will not stop challenging it in the Persian Gulf or through legislation.
“They want to show that the pressure that the U.S. is exerting on Iran, [that] they can respond with similar measures,” Tabatabai impressed, according to The Associated Press. “It’s not that important that those measures may not hurt the U.S. in the same way. … They want to show they are not just standing still and watching this happening.”
Tehran continues to deny U.S. accusations that it is developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, as Rouhani –who was sworn in earlier this month for his second term as president – insists that Iran only has peaceful global intentions.
“[The nuclear deal is] a sign of Iran’s goodwill on the international stage,” Iran’s president declared, according to Aljazeera.com.
Araqchi proclaimed that the bill works to make sure Iran can combat the U.S. when its actions are deemed against his nation’s interests.
“Iran boasts potential and actual options to confront hostile U.S. actions,” Araqchi impressed, as noted by the Arab publication.