Increasing Iran's military budget, how much and why?

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 12

By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

A former high-ranking Iranian military commander said December 12 that Iran's military budget doesn't pose a threat to any one.

Esmaeil Kovsari, a former director of the Security Department in the Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces says increasing Iran's military budget doesn't pose any threat against any one.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani proposed a general budget of $293 billion to parliament for the Iranian fiscal year starting March 20, 2015.

In the budget bill, defense expenditure will rise 32.7 percent, most of which will be assigned to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Iran will hike military spending by more than a third in the next fiscal year despite presenting a "cautious, tight" budget to parliament in response to falling oil prices and punishing sanctions arising from the country's disputed nuclear program.

However, the details of the military budget released by Tasnim News Agency, a close media to IRGC, indicates that the new defense budget growth has increased by 32.5 percent.

The name of military entities

Current budget law/ based on each USD at 26,500 rials

Next year budget bill /based on each USD at 28,500 rials

Y/Y change based on USD

Y/Y change based on Iran's natural currency, rial

Defense ministry

791.67 million

934.95 million



Army Forces

1,973.04 million

1,863.47 million




4,365.64 million

6,115.41 million



Basij Resistance Force

321.60 million

310.84 million



Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces

554.70 million

658.61 million




8,006.65 million

9,883.30 million



Esmaeil Kovsari, a member of Iran National Security and Foreign Policy commission of Iran's Majlis (parliament) said that Iran's military budget is still very low, compared to some regional countries like Iran's southern neighbors.

The Iranian parliament approved a bill, according to which the administration will be obliged to allocate at least 2 percent of the funding for running the government for defense purposes annually.

The administration is also obliged to deposit 10 percent of the income from imposing charges on civilian planes and 50 percent of the income from imposing charges on military planes, which is considered as the air transit income, to the Army's account for buying radar, navigation, and air defense systems.

However, Raymond Tanter who served at the White House as a senior member on the National Security Council staff from 1981 to 1982 told Trend Dec.12 that "An Iranian regime hike of military spending by more than a third in the next fiscal year despite revenue loss from falling oil prices is an inadvertent signal to the Iranian opposition, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran: Ramp up demonstrations as it did during 2009, along with the now moribund Green Movement. "

The National Council of Resistance of Iran -- also know as the Mujahedeen e-Khalq -- was considered by the U.S. and EU to be a terrorist group, but they were recently removed from the list.

Tanter who helped found the Iran Policy Committee in 2005 and serves as its president added that if the IRGC budget increases by about half to 174 trillion Rials, it is because of unexpected fighting on multiple fronts, such as in Syria and Iraq, as well as funding of terrorists proxies of Iran like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and the Houthis in Yemen.

American politician and scholar who has wrote books titled "Appeasing the Ayatollahs and Suppressing Democracy (2006) and President Obama and Iran (2010) believes that "such combat and proxy financing is a drain on Tehran's treasury and source vulnerability of the regime to the kind of demonstrations that occurred in 2009."

According the latest report published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Saudi Arabia's military expenditures reached $67 billion in 2013, while UAE (the latest statistics available for 2012) and Turkey spent each one about $19 billion.

The report says that the military expenditure in the Middle East increased by 4 percent in real terms in 2013 and 56 per cent between 2004 and 2013, to reach an estimated

$150 billion. While figures for military expenditure in the Middle East have traditionally been very uncertain, the lack of data has worsened recently. In 2013, there was no available data for Iran, Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

However, Kovsari says that the Western media are trying to divert reality by exaggerating reality.

Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector, head of Trend Agency's Iran news service
Follow him on @dalgakhatinoglu

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