iran pro gov protest 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's parliament passed a law on Sunday earmarking $20 million to support terrorist groups opposing the West and investigate alleged US and British plots against the Islamic Republic.
The legislation is widely seen as a response to Western criticism of Iran's violent crackdown against protesters following the disputed June presidential election. Lawmakers started debating the outline of the bill in August when Iran's hardline leaders were fending off allegations that security forces had tortured opposition activists detained during the demonstrations.
The text of the legislation says the money is to "support progressive currents that resist illegal activities by the governments of the US and Britain." Iranian officials often use such terms to describe militant groups.
It was not immediately clear which groups would receive funding from Iran, but Teheran already backs the Islamic terrorists Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The bill also taps funds to "confront plots and unjust restrictions" by the Washington and London against Teheran and to disclose "human rights abuses by the two countries."
A committee with representatives from Iran's intelligence services, the elite Revolutionary Guards, as well as the Foreign Ministry and the communication and culture ministries will manage the funds.
Iran's constitutional watchdog must still approve the bill before it takes effect.