Iran has sustained its military spending in the face of debilitating US sanctions, a military adviser to the supreme leader has said in a rare interview, dismissing the Trump administration’s claims that its maximum pressure strategy has forced Tehran to slash its defence budgets. Iranian officials acknowledge the impact sanctions have had on their economy, which has been plunged into a deep recession as US president Donald Trump has ramped up the pressure on the Islamic republic.
But Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan told the Financial Times that Tehran had not “made any cuts to the budgets of our military organisations”.
The US strategy “is costing them and it costs us. But who is the winner now? Today, we believe our influence in the region has increased despite all this pressure,” said Gen Dehghan. “We will never abandon our regional allies . . . We are not players, we are revolutionaries.”
Gen Dehghan reiterated that Iran did not want a “full-blown war” with the US, but said negotiations would be pointless. “The US thinks we are in a weak position and need to negotiate,” he said. “The US wants to negotiate with us to say ‘why do you have missiles, why are you present in the region and why do you have military capabilities?’ What kind of negotiations are these?”