IRGC Prioritized in Iran’s State Budget

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presented the draft budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 to the parliament on Sunday, defending it in an hour-long speech. The budget showed allocations to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were three times that of the army. Quds Force and the Revolutionary Program are a priority in the new budget, according to informed parliamentary sources as quoted by Asharq al-Awsat.

Rouhani said he was satisfied with the submission of the draft ahead of schedule, and urged the Iranian parliament to discuss and approve the budget in a period not exceeding 40 days, according to Iranian parliament’s regulations.

Member of parliament’s defense committee Mohammad Jamali announced that al-Quds Force and the missile program were a top priority in the armed forces’ budget.  According to the MP, his country faces regional and international threats, which “prompts Iran to enhance its capabilities.”

State-run ISNA news agency reported that the armed forces’ budget amounted to 400 trillion Iranian Riyals, including the military, the Revolutionary Guards, the Ministry of Defense and the Basij organization of the Revolutionary Guards. The figures show that the IRGC’s budget is worth about three times the budget of the Iranian army.

IRGC’s budget amounted to more than 267 trillion Iranian Riyals, state media said. In return, the government asked for 97 trillion riyals for the Iranian army, while the Ministry of Defense and the logistics forces are allocated 44 trillion riyals. The government also asked for the allocation of around 11 trillion riyals to “Basij”.

Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper last month that the economic pressure exerted on the army is aimed at forcing it to relinquish its air force in favor of the Revolutionary Guards.

Tasnim news agency mentioned that the five priorities include developing missile capabilities, civil defense, armed forces’ communications network, and developing Iran’s weapons systems, as well as enhancing electronic warfare capabilities.

In an address to Majlis on Sunday, December 10, Iran regime’s president praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its mercenary militias in countries in the region and ironically described them as “an element of security” in the region. In his abhorring remarks, Hassan Rouhani said:

“I kiss the hands of the combatants of Islam and the combatants of resistance… They secured Syria. They secured Lebanon. God willing in future, they will also secure Yemen. They are endeavoring full force to make the region secure… Today is the day when we must get actively engaged in the region, economically, culturally, and politically.”

Initially, Rouhani defended his government’s programs in domestic and economic policies before discussing foreign policy. In his defense of the budget, Iran’s President said that it falls in line with his electoral slogans.

Rouhani promised to achieve economic growth exceeding 5 percent as of next year, which starts on March 20. He also renewed his defense of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the “5 + 1”, stressing that Iran “has undergone two major economic developments: reduce the benefits of profits, and encourage foreign investment”. But at the same time, Rouhani reiterated the need to implement major developments in non-oil exports.

Economic slogans were a main part of Rohani’s electoral campaign, and 100 days into his presidency, statistics show no improvement in living conditions, combating unemployment and poverty, revitalizing the local economy and basic projects, and the private sector’s involvement in the country’s economy.

In this regard, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani welcomed the government’s interest in the “country’s important challenges” describing it as “a positive step.” He did, however, note that there were some concerns about the budget.

Back in June, in response to a new U.S. administration that has stated its goal to work toward regime change in Tehran, Iran’s parliament has introduced new legislation to increase the country’s military budget by $540 million.

Iranian parliamentarian Kazem Jalali, the president of the Majlis Research Center, said June 28 that the proposed bill is primarily in response to “America’s aggressive behavior in the region and its hostile policies against Iran.” According to Jalali, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) would be given approximately half of this additional budget for its missile program. The Quds Force, which is responsible for operations outside of Iran’s borders and operates under the IRGC, would receive the other half.

Iran’s overall military budget is approximately $14 billion. Approximately half of that budget is allocated to the IRGC. Various estimates have put the IRGC’s overall budget from $7 billion to $8 billion, depending on how the total non-budgetary income is added.

Jalali also said that with the new legislation, President Hassan Rouhani’s administration would be required to provide a “comprehensive strategy to counter the threats and terrorist acts of the United States every six months.”