Majlis to Boost Support for Missile Plan, IRGC

An Iranian measure in response to the US Senate’s sanctions bill is expected to reach the parliament’s floor for debate later this week
Alaeddin BoroujerdiAlaeddin Boroujerdi

Lawmakers are weighing a multimillion dollar budget boost for Iran's missile development and its anti-terror regional role, in response to the US Senate's sanctions measure, the head of a parliamentary panel said.

Chairman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters on Sunday the measure is expected to reach the parliament's floor for debate later this week, ISNA reported.

The US congressional measure, which passed the senate on a 98-2 vote last month, targets Iran over its ballistic missile launches, alleged terrorism charges and human rights abuses.

It still needs to clear the House of Representatives before being sent to US President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

The Iranian bill is being prepared at the behest of Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani as a comprehensive response to the senate move.

"Legislation in response to the United States' adventurist, terrorist moves would likely go before the parliament for debate this upcoming Sunday," Boroujerdi said.

***Key Contents

Elaborating on the bill's key contents, Boroujerdi said the draft bill calls for 10,000 billion rials ($264 million) to be earmarked for the development of Iran's missile capability.

"Given the vital, strategic role of Qods Force in the region, the bill has assigned them the same amount to support their regional operations," he said.

The Qods Force is a special unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in charge of its overseas operations currently advising the militaries of Iraq and Syria in their battle to drive out the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group that took over vast areas of the two Arab countries in 2014.

The congressional bill hit headwinds almost immediately after it was approved by the senate.

House Republican leaders said the bill ran afoul of a constitutional requirement that legislation involving revenue should originate in the house.

Although the senate was quick to fix the bill, a final congressional vote is unlikely to take place before Trump's meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, later this week.

In addition to targeting Iran, the sanctions package levies additional penalties on Moscow over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, for its actions in Ukraine and its role in the Syria war.

The senate bill is widely viewed as a rebuke of Trump and his favorable comments about Kremlin.

The White House says it is still reviewing the legislation and has not taken a position, though Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have both raised concerns about Congress eroding the administration's authority to determine sanctions.

In addition to establishing new sanctions against Iran and Russia, the bill would create a new congressional review process for Congress to block the executive branch, if it tries to ease sanctions on Moscow.

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