Iranian general says army needs more funds to counter IS
5/25/2015

TEHRAN: A senior Iranian military official told parliament on Sunday the armed forces need a bigger budget to confront the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group whose influence is growing in neighbouring countries.

`We have to face a new threat in the region. Terrorist groups are close to our borders,` General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan who commands Iran`s ground forces told parliament, according to the media.

`Today we see the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan and Pakistan,` he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Iran`s army and its elite Revolutionary Guards must be strengthened to be able `to buy tanks, transport vehicles and to overhaul our helicopters`, he was quoted as saying.

The IS group, which has seized chunks of Syria and Iraq, has also reportedly gained a foothold in Iran`s neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In May, IS claimed its first attack in Pakistan, where gunand pistol-wielding men stormed a bus carrying members of the Shia Ismaili community, killing at least 43 people.

The Iranian general, who said `the battle is on the ground`, did not say by how much the defence budget should be increased.

For the fiscal year ending in March 2016, the defence budget was increased by more than 30 per cent to reach some $10 billion. In addition, the armed forces receive $1.2 billion from sovereign funds.

Gen Pourdastan told parliament that when IS launched its offensive in Iraq in June last year jihadists advanced to Jalula, just 40 kilometres from the Iranian border.

`In less than three days, we sent five brigades to the borders and our reconnaissance helicopters penetrated 40 kilometres into Iraq,` he added.

Iran has military advisers in Iraq and Syria and provides financial and military support to the governments of both countries in their fight against Sunni extremists.-AFPTEHRAN: A senior Iranian military official told parliament on Sunday the armed forces need a bigger budget to confront the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group whose influence is growing in neighbouring countries.

`We have to face a new threat in the region. Terrorist groups are close to our borders,` General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan who commands Iran`s ground forces told parliament, according to the media.

`Today we see the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan and Pakistan,` he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Iran`s army and its elite Revolutionary Guards must be strengthened to be able `to buy tanks, transport vehicles and to overhaul our helicopters`, he was quoted as saying.

The IS group, which has seized chunks of Syria and Iraq, has also reportedly gained a foothold in Iran`s neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In May, IS claimed its first attack in Pakistan, where gun and pistol-wielding men stormed a bus carrying members of the Shia Ismaili community, killing at least 43 people.

The Iranian general, who said `the battle is on the ground`, did not say by how much the defence budget should be increased.

For the fiscal year ending in March 2016, the defence budget was increased by more than 30 per cent to reach some $10 billion. In addition, the armed forces receive $1.2 billion from sovereign funds.

Gen Pourdastan told parliament that when IS launched its offensive in Iraq in June last year jihadists advanced to Jalula, just 40 kilometres from the Iranian border.

`In less than three days, we sent five brigades to the borders and our reconnaissance helicopters penetrated 40 kilometres into Iraq,` he added.

Iran has military advisers in Iraq and Syria and provides financial and military support to the governments of both countries in their fight against Sunni extremists.-AFP

Published in Dawn