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August 21, 2017

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Iranian parliament raises budget for missile program

TEHRAN - The Iranian parliament on Sunday voted unanimously for a bill to increase the budget for its missile programme as well as the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) militia.

The proposed law is Tehran's answer to the latest sanctions by the United States against Iran's missile programme, state media reported.

More than 600 million dollars were approved, half of which was dedicated to the missile programme and the IRGC. The other half would go toward the Foreign and Defence Ministries as well as to the secret services in efforts to combat suspected US machinations against Iran.

As the details of the Republican Guard and missile programme budgets have previously been kept secret, it is unclear what affect the new budget will have on the two entities.

The US government in July levied new sanctions against persons, businesses and institutions in Iran in response to a missile test and other "ongoing threats."

For its part, Iran accused the administration of US President Donald Trump of attempting to sabotage the 2015 nuclear accord, which foresees international inspections of Iran's nuclear sites to ensure its nuclear programme is peaceful, in exchange for a removal of economic sanctions.

Nothing in the agreement covers the country's missile programme, Tehran stated, claiming that the missile programme is solely for defence.

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani on Sunday warned both sides against the weakening of the landmark nuclear deal.

"Anyone who weakens the accord harms himself and his country," he said, adding that the deal was a win-win situation for all sides.

There would however be an international protest action should Trump and the US sabotage the deal, he said.

Trump has repeatedly censured the nuclear deal as too lenient on Iran. The US has accused Iran of using its nuclear programme in an effort to build an atomic bomb.

Hardliners in Iran are also against the nuclear deal, saying that Rowhani, whose administration negotiated the deal, had made too many concessions in exchange for nothing of concrete value for Iran.

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