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Iran defies USA with increased budget for missile programme

Iran defies USA with increased budget for missile programme

The additional USA sanctions put in place last month directly target the missile programme and the IRGC.

The vote came after the United States imposed fresh U.S. sanctions against Iran in July, targeting its missile programme.

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 United States sanctions.

State-run IRNA news agency reported that 247 lawmakers attended the vote session, with 240 approving the spending plan and one lawmaker abstaining.

"The Americans should know that this was our first action", said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, after announcing overwhelming support for a package "to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region".

The measure would also allocate over $260 million each to Iran's ballistic missile programme and the Quds Force - the external arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been deployed to battlefields in Iraq and Syria.

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Araghchi, also in defense, said the countermeasure bill is "much stronger" than US Congress bill against Iran, since it also extends support to the Islamic Republic's armed forces and all related ministries.

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

The bill must now pass a second vote before being submitted to a clerical body for final approval and passage into law.

Iran maintains that the missiles that it tests don't violate its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers because they are for defensive purposes.

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

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