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Iran Parliament Approves About $5 Billion Defense Spending

By Orkhan Jalilov March 7, 2022

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Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force unveiled two underground missile and drone bases on March 5, which included surface-to-surface missile systems with advanced equipment, and offensive drones. / MEHR News Agency

The Iranian lawmakers have approved the bill to allocate $5 billion to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities.

While reviewing the revenue part of the 2022 budget bill, Iran’s MPs ordered the government to allocate 4.5 billion euros from the budget, using the National Iranian Oil Company’s (NIOC) financial resources to strengthen defense power and strategic defense research programs. 

The lawmakers also agreed that under Article 110 of the Constitution, those living abroad and those whose conscription dates five years ago could receive an exemption from military service by paying the equivalent of 15,000 euros.

Iran has developed a defense program over the past decades, and now it produces various types of weapons and military equipment domestically and plans to increase military exports.

On March 5, Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force revealed two underground missile and drone bases built in the heart of high mountains, marking the first time that IRGC Aerospace Force unveiled such underground bases.

These tunnel bases are home to surface-to-surface missile systems with advanced equipment and offensive drones that can penetrate the radar and defense network systems. In addition, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with a range of 2,000 kilometers, dual-missile launchers, and multiple-UAV launchers are present at these bases.

“Our [IRGC] missile firepower and ability to launch projectiles simultaneously have increased more than 6 to 7 times, and the duration of preparing missiles for launch, and the intervals between the launches have been reduced remarkably,” the commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said after unveiling the underground bases.

Commenting on the features of the bases, the commander said 60 drones could fly from the base at the same time. 

“Since the range of these unmanned aircraft is long and not limited, we have no limitation on the targets and can hit any hostile target,” he added.

On March 6, the IRGC unveiled the new suicide drone called “Meraj 504”. The drone can carry explosives of up to 2.5 kilograms within a range of 100 kilometers. It is an upgraded and “more economical” version of Meraj 204, initially developed by the IRGC’s Research and Self-sufficiency Jihad Organisation in 2017.

Iran is ranked 14th among 140 countries in terms of military power, according to the Global Firepower’s 2022 rankings.