Iran hikes missile funds to hit out at U.S. sanctions

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Iran's parliament on Sunday approved more than half a billion dollars in funding for the country's missile programme and foreign operations of the elite Revolutionary Guards in response to U.S. sanctions.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the outlines of the bill to "counter America's terrorist and adventurist actions" as some chanted "Death to America", the state broadcaster IRIB reported.

The legislation is a reaction to a bill ratified recently in the US Senate allowing Washington to impose non-nuclear sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

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.

The bill secured 240 yes votes and one abstention.

Iranian officials deem the anti-Iran sanctions over its ballistic missile program and alleged "support for terrorism" in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the JCPOA.

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Abbas Araghchi, a deputy foreign minister and senior nuclear negotiator on hand for the vote, said a moderate President Hassan Rouhani's government would support the bill.

Iran denies its missile programme violates a United Nations resolution which 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 United States has had no diplomatic ties with the Iran since 1980, and Trump has halted the direct contacts initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.

They are obliged to, within a period of six months following the ratification of the bill, devise a comprehensive strategic plan to counter the U.S. threats.

Tehran's sanctions aim to ban such persons from entering Iran, confiscate their assets within the powers of the Islamic republic, and block their financial transactions.

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