The Persian empire strikes back. The Iranian parliament's Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy agreed on Aug. 9 to allocate additional money to projects intended to counter recent U.S. foreign policy. The funds are included in a draft law pulled together specifically in response to a new raft of U.S. sanctions. The draft law proposes that, within six months, Iran will put together a new strategy to counter persistent U.S. threats against Iran. The draft law will be discussed in more detail when parliament reconvenes next week.
Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency reported that 1 trillion Iranian tomans (about $305 million) are to be allocated to expand ballistic missile activities and another 1 trillion tomans will be divided between the Ministry of Intelligence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. Yet another 1 trillion tomans potentially will be allocated for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s Quds Force, which manages Iranian military activities abroad and is therefore a source of concern for Washington.
U.S. power to sanction individuals and companies in Iran is greater than the Iranian ability to respond in kind. Despite this, part of the draft law discusses an effort to designate U.S. officials and military commanders that, from Iran's perspective, have supported terrorism. Even though new U.S. sanctions on Iran do not deal with Iranian nuclear activities, Iran sees new sanctions as counter to the spirit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
The extra funding is part of an overall effort to push back against U.S. efforts to limit what Washington sees as destabilizing activities that threaten regional security. Iran approved a similar amount several months ago for comparable purposes, and we're witnessing a continuing cycle as the United States issues more sanctions on ballistic missile activity and companies and individuals linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This additional amount earmarked for defense and intelligence activities demonstrates Iran's intent to continue meeting perceived U.S. aggression with Iranian resolve.