The distribution of the Iranian budget bill for the coming year reveals the insistence of the regime in Tehran to continue the policies, methods and activities of undermining the security and stability of the region, supporting terrorist groups and intervening in the affairs of the countries in the region. This budget has also revealed that Iran is preparing itself to raise the level of its terrorism and interference in the affairs of other countries by allocating huge funds to the Iranian Quds Corp, which is classified as a terrorist entity, the Revolutionary Guard and the intelligence services. This indicates that Tehran never wants to engage in any political settlement or to accept any peaceful solution, whether in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or Yemen, which requires the implementation of a firm and decisive policy against the Iranian regime and its agents within Iran and in the region.

Having a quick look at the Iranian budget that is currently being discussed by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the Shura Council, it would be easy to sense Iran’s real intentions and its plans in the region! In that budget, Iran has allocated funds for the Revolutionary Guard that is three times more than what has been allocated for the Iranian Army! Moreover, The Quds Force, the external arm of the Revolutionary Guard, the missile program, the revolutionary activities and the intelligence services have dominated the new budget priority, which is a clear challenge by the Iranian regime to the international community, which rejects the Iranian destructive role in the region and demands Tehran to stop its terrorist activities and support for extremist groups and to end its blatant interference in the region.

According to Iranian reports, the government allocated around $12 billion to the armed forces, including $7 billion to the Revolutionary Guard and its activities and $2.5 billion to the army, meaning that the Revolutionary Guard has received three times more than the Iranian army, indicating the continuation of the Iranian regime deliberate marginalization for the army and being unreliable as with the Revolutionary Guard! As for the Ministry of Defense, $1 billion was allocated for it and the remainder was distributed to the internal security services.

Raising the budget of the Revolutionary Guard came at the expense of the Iranian people’s welfare as it was decided to reduce the budget of internal construction and development projects as well as reducing the funds for the government’s financial aid to the poor Iranians by about 19 trillion Tomans. This is equivalent to canceling the aid for more than 30 million Iranians living under the poverty line, in order to enable the Iranian regime from continuing its expansionist activities that only pass through terrorism and the spread of strife and fighting. This budget came in anticipation of the American decisions to impose severe sanctions on the Iranian regime, which would reduce its regional activities and limit the influence of its subversive groups.

Despite the continuous emphasis by the economic experts on the need to develop economic reforms to tackle the growing problems of the country and the citizens alike, as well as a political reform and that the solution lies in reforming the country’s annual budget, however, the influence of the Revolutionary Guard and the hardliners have always been a stumbling block from achieving such dream as they put pressure on Rouhani’s government and force him to make a budget that primarily serves Iran’s activities and policies abroad, and the personal interests of the Revolutionary Guard, Khamenei and the hardline clerics, regardless of any internal development considerations!

This policy, revealed by the next financial year’s budget, is an Iranian confirmation of supporting the ballistic missile program and the regional activities of the Quds Force. This is a flagrant challenge to international resolutions, especially that it comes after official international reports proving Iran’s involvement in supporting terrorism and providing terrorist groups with dangerous weapons and missiles that pose a threat to regional and global security. Such as what has been revealed of Iran’s support for the Houthis with missiles that targeted sites in Saudi Arabia. Internally, such a budget can only be seen as a looting and destruction of the wealth of the country and the funds and rights of citizens, and it stands in the way of any economic reforms that may left the problems and suffering of the Iranian people. And this what would increase the despair of the Iranian street from the government’s policies and thus widening the gap of internal divisions and hatred of the Iranian people towards the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guard.

Al  Mezmaah  Studies & Research Centre

12 December   2017