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Iran Lawmaker Says Military Budget Has Been Boosted By Parliament Committee

Iranian military trucks carry surface-to-air missiles during a parade on the occasion of the country's Army Day, in Tehran, April 18, 2017. File photo

A member of Iranian parliament's budget reconciliation committee says it has been decided to increase the country's military budget by around $3 billion.

The new Iranian year and the fiscal cycle begins on March 21 and the budget for March 21,2019-March 20, 2020 is currently under discussion in parliament.

The Tasnim news agency close to Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) quotes Abolfazl Hassanbeigi as saying that $2 billion was added by the reconciliation committee.

He also said that another one billion dollars will be added from revenues gained by higher fossil fuel prices.

He did not mention any details, such as the spending target for the additional appropriation. Research and development, regular army, IRGC and intelligence organization each have their own specific budgets within the overall defense appropriation.

Prices for oil-based products are set by the government in Iran, therefore any price increase will be the outcome of a deliberate decision to charge people more for fuel,

No official figures have been announced for the new budget but a reliable analyst with Tasnim had said in December that the budget of the regular army was drastically cut, while the budget of the IRGC was increased to nearly $5 billion.

Estimates in the past have put the IRGC annual budget much higher than $5 billion.

Iran's official budget numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to military and intelligence activities. Given lack of overall transparency, money from various sources can be funneled to clandestine activities.

IRGC controls many businesses and no one knows how the proceeds are spent. The government can also be forced by hardliners and the IRGC to withdraw money from the country's hard currency reserves, which are set aside for future contingencies.