By Iran Probe staff
Thursday, 11 April 2017
Iran’s budget plan for the March 2017 – March 2018 fiscal year was approved in the regime’s parliament on March 14th, confirmed by the Guardian Council and announced to President Hassan Rouhani by the parliament speaker.
The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) enjoys a budget of 22.2 trillion tomans ($6.36bn), showing a 100% increase in comparison to the past three years.
The military’s chief of staff has witnessed a 40% to 7.7 trillion ($2.22bn) for this fiscal year. The budgets of the armed forces chief of staff and IRGC paramilitary Basij have also been doubled in this period.
Moreover, a new five-year plan bill calls on the regime’s cabinet to allocate 5% of the budget to defense issues, with a special insistence on ballistic missile manufacturing.
The military budget for the next fiscal year has increased by 128%, according to remarks made by Rouhani’s cabinet spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht on February 27th. Most of this increase is related to military and security issues.
To this end, the IRGC will be receiving the utmost budget increase and aid in comparison to other entities.
Of course, the exact calculation of the military institutions in Iran is impossible because most of their military expenses are cloaked under construction and educational expenses. For example, the Basij, being a military and repressive organ, receives major financial aid from individuals and entities, parallel to research credit lines.
Furthermore, the IRGC has a variety of other financial resources. From the tenure of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the IRGC entered the economic sector and enjoyed a major stake in all cabinets that came to power in Iran ever since.
A third of the country’s docks and import/export customs are controlled by the IRGC. They also have imposed heavy control over communications services. The Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Company has taken control over most of the country’s infrastructure projects. Currently the IRGC can be described as a financial octopus in control of all of Iran’s economy.
Rouhani’s government has allocated such a budget increase to the military, and especially the IRGC, while it continues to boast about Iran’s frozen assets and the government’s increased revenue following the nuclear deal being in the people’s interest and improving Iran’s economy. However, it appears Rouhani has used this money to merely strengthen the military sector.
As a term of Rouhani’s presidency comes to an end, and this cabinet claimed to be a moderate in the face of hardliners summarized in the IRGC, the increase in the military budget, and especially the IRGC, has added to its increased political and economic influence and an upsurge in its activities in ballistic missile manufacturing and escalating direct and indirect meddling across the region, including in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain.
Rouhani in a meeting with soleimani, commander of IRGC quds force
During the past two or three weeks we have received news reports of the IRGC’s upped meddling in Lebanon and Bahrain by launching missile and IED production factories… for terrorist groups. Without a doubt a percentage of these increased IRGC activities are based on the money they have received through the Iran nuclear deal and the West should not be deceived by Rouhani’s claims of being a moderate.
A 100% increase in the budget of the IRGC and other military entities under the so-called “moderate” Rouhani proves both of Iran’s factions are coordinating their measures in regards to exporting fundamentalism and extremism.
As a result, the only solution to confront Iran’s meddling in the region is to prevent the transfer of money rendered from the highly flawed nuclear deal from being used to fuel this regime’s military organs. Furthermore, Iran’s IRGC must be designated as a foreign terrorist organization.