Iran’s violent state security forces, which have played an actively violent role in suppressing nationwide protests in Iran have been allocated $3 billion in the latest budget news. This hefty budget allocation coincides with Iran’s collapsing economy.
Iran’s budget for the state militia was announced several weeks late by the government due to nationwide protests. The budget reveals that the state militia, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been raised by 28 per cent. Some experts estimate that the actual income of the IRGC could be as high as $17 billion.
The IRGC, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US due to its role in supporting terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas is known for being a clandestine organisation which is said to receive income from illicit oil sales. In recent days, pressure has been put on the UK government to list the IRGC as a terrorist group. The UK’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly announced last month that sanctions had been imposed on the IRGC after it emerged that the IRGC was planning attacks on Iranian dissidents in the UK.
In other economy-related news in Iran, the budget of Iran’s regular army has also increased by 36 per cent to over $1.22 billion and the police budget is set to rise 44 per cent to reach $1.55 billion. Iran’s intelligence ministry has also received a 52 per cent boost, equivalent to almost $400 million.
These huge budget increases come as Iran’s national currency, the rial, recorded its lowest-ever rate against the US dollar in late December. Market analysts say Iran’s currency has lost about 20% of its value since mid-September when countrywide protests erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody which has sparked further sanctions. As Iran’s currency continues to plummet, most people are unable to afford basic items due to the steep increase in prices. While the news of Iran’s deteriorating economy may be surprising considering that Iran has the world’s second-largest gas reserves after Qatar, it also lacks the technology to do so.
Image Credit: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP