The Iranian parliament is finalizing a bill to increase the annual budget for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), the Iranian media reported. The estimated surplus budget of more than half a billion dollars is specifically designed to help the I.R.G.C. to further enhance the country’s missile program and military activities in the region. The move came as a response to the latest U.S. Senate legislation that would impose new sanctions against Iran’s missile program. According to lawmaker Kazzem Jalali, half of the additional budget will be allocated to the I.R.G.C.’s Quds Force to increase its efforts to fight against “terrorist groups” in the region. He added that the legislation also requires Iran’s Defense Ministry to devise an operational plan to enhance the country’s missile program and submit it to the Supreme National Security Council (S.N.S.C.) in less than one month.

Comment: On June 15, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that imposes new sanctions on Iran and Russia. The legislation still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Donald Trump to become law. Iranian officials reacted angrily to the bill and vowed retaliatory measures. Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said the Senate bill was a violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “The [Iranian] committee tasked with monitoring the J.C.P.O.A. will certainly analyze the issue and appropriately respond to U.S. sanctions,” he added.  

On June 27, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the committee had finalized a legislation that would counter the U.S. “adventurous and terrorist” actions in the region, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported today. “This bill has set some obligations for the government and the government is obliged to implement them,” he emphasized. Iran’s Foreign Ministry also criticized the sanctions bill and stressed the Islamic Republic will take retaliatory actions. Iranian leaders in the past have also threatened to blacklist the U.S. military and CIA if Washington decides to designate the I.R.G.C. as a terrorist entity.