Iran’s 6th development plan; upgrading the defense and deterrence

Tehran, July 11, The Iran Project – Seyed Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution outlined the general policies of the country’s 6th quinquennial development plan. In a proclamation officially sent to President Hassan Rouhani, Ayatollah Khamenei submitted a comprehensive five-year plan for Iran’s economic development from 2016 to 2021.

The resistance economy, pioneering in science and technology and the cultural superiority are three main pillars of the document which has been formulated after long-term research, studies and consultations with Iran’s Expediency Council. Following the issued decree, this 80-provision plan will be applied as a basis for the budget planning next year. This national plan also addresses a wide range of affairs: economy, technological innovation, information and communication, social issues, defense and security, foreign policy, legal, judicial, cultural, and scientific issues.

What makes this outline different from the previous ones is the issue of defense and security. This proclamation entails a remarkable growth in Iran’s defense budget, raising it by 1.5 times more and at least 5 percent of the whole national budget. In order to achieve the national goals, the plan allocates nearly $40 billion to upgrade the military capabilities and defense power of the country as a regional power.

Deterrent power is another key defense concept which is explicitly highlighted in this document. It underscores the need to boost the Iran’s deterrent power primarily by development of the missile equipments, military technologies and production of weaponries.

The truth is that while Iran faces more serious threats particularly by Israel, its increased defense budget is still far less than the military expenses in the neighboring countries. A list provided by International Institute for Strategic Studies in Britain lately has ranked Saudi Arabia among the five countries with the highest rate of military expenditure. In 2014, Saudi Arabia spent $80.8 billion on its military last year, showing 17% growth in defense expenses which is the most dramatic increase among the top spenders in the world. The same also goes for other Arab countries particularly Qatar and Kuwait.

In fact, the idea of growth in the military expense essentially indicates how volatile the security condition in the Middle East region is. In other words, rising new waves of extremism by ISIS and Al-Qaeda, Israel frequent threats of the Syria and Lebanon, illegal military aggressions of Saudi Arabia against Yemen and a highly complicated situation in Iraq highlight the current realities based of which the general policies related to defense and security have been formulated in the sixth plan of development.