Iran: Govt alleges CIA behind street protests

Tehran, 24 June (AKI) - Iran's interior minister Seyed Sadeq Mahsouli on Wednesday accused the United States spy agency, CIA, of being among organisations that were helping to fund "rioters" in the country following its disputed 12 June presidential election.

"Britain, America and the Zionist regime (Israel) were behind the recent unrest in Tehran," said Mahsouli, quoted by the the semi-official Fars News Agency.

At least 17 people have died in almost-daily street protests since the 12 June poll in which incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landside winner. A number of journalists and activists have been arrested.

Defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi and his supporters claims the vote was rigged and want fresh elections.

"Many of the rioters were in contact with America, CIA and the MKO and are being fed by their financial resources," Mahsouli said. The MKO (Mujahideen Khalq Organization) is an exiled Iranian opposition group.

Iranian officials have criticised western powers' for alleged interference in Iran's domestic affairs. The government has expelled two British diplomats, a move swiftly replicated by London, which on Tuesday announced the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats.

The CIA and the British intelligence service handpicked Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi to replace Iran's democratically elected secular prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh in a 1953 coup.

The CIA covertly funnelled five million dollars to Zahedi's military junta two days after the coup and backed the all-powerful monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was deposed by the Islamic Revolution of 1979.


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