Parliamentarians Oppose Defense Budget Cut

Parliamentarians Oppose Defense Budget CutParliamentarians Oppose Defense Budget Cut

Several lawmakers opposed a budget amendment bill proposed by the government that calls for slashing 5 trillion rials ($1.7 billion) of funds allocated to the defense sector in the national budget law for the current Iranian year (started March 20).

Farhad Tajari, a principlist lawmaker, told ICANA on Sunday that cutting the defense budget is unjustifiable.

"Government officials should provide the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission with [rational] explanations," he said. "Anyway, I believe that trimming the defense sector's resources is unjustifiable and it should have a high priority in the country's budget plan."

Tajari stressed that the Majlis will not allow the growth of Iran's defensive power to slow down and legislators will prepare a comprehensive plan to help develop military capabilities.

The government submitted the controversial bill to parliament last Thursday. It will be discussed in the Majlis Planning and Budget Commission next Tuesday, after which lawmakers will vote on it.

  Moving Backward

Jahanbakhsh Mohebbinia, a principlist member of the parliamentary commission, said instead of trimming the defense budget, the government should allocate more funds to help bolster Iran's deterrent power.

"This amendment bill, if passed, will carry security implications," he said in a Sunday talk with ICANA.

Mohebbinia said defense capability is an essential component of independence of any country and many regional states have devised long-term plans to boost their military strength, particularly in view of the chaotic situation in the Middle East and the spread of terrorism.

"There are many threats against us in the region and our enemies are using every chance to damage the Islamic Republic, hence reducing defense funds is not in the interest of the country," he said.

Earlier this year and after the government submitted the annual budget bill to the previous parliament, lawmakers approved a proposal that obliges the administration to allocate 5% of the public budget to the defense sector.

Iran says its military might poses no threat to other countries and its defense doctrine is entirely based on deterrence.