Aug. 13 (UPI) — Iran’s parliament has voted to funnel more funds to the nation’s ballistic missile program. During Sunday’s voting session, 240 out of 244 legislators approved the missile spending bill.
This legislation was described as an effort to “counter America’s terrorist and adventurist actions in the region” and heralded as a justified response to new sanctions adopted by the United States earlier this summer.
In July, Iran launched a satellite-capable rocket into space. The launch did not violate the terms of the 2015 nuclear treaty between the United States, Iran and Western nations, but the move was strongly criticized by the U.S. and other Western allies.
In response to the launch, President Trump signed a bill outlining new sanctions against several Iranian groups, freezing funds and outlawing U.S. citizens from doing businesses with the targets.
With the newly passed funding bill, Iran’s parliament offered a rebuke of the U.S. sanctions.
“The Americans should know that this was our first action,” speaker Ali Larijani said after announcing the voting results — according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
The bill still needs to pass a second vote before it is delivered to a clerical body for review and passage into law. The legislation would divide 20 trillion rials, or $609 million, between the missile program and the Quds Force, a special forces unit of the nation’s Revolutionary Guards.