As Iran’s currency crisis continues, both the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Intelligence Ministry this week accused the West of deliberately inciting economic chaos in the Islamic Republic to destabilize the regime.

Ali Ashraf Nouri, the IRGC’s political deputy, accused the Iranian reformist movements of deliberately focusing on Iran’s economic struggles to influence the outcome of the 2013 presidential elections.

In an interview with the Persian-language conservative website Khabar Online, Nouri said the 2013 presidential election would differ from that of 2009 in that this time, Iran’s enemies were “focusing on the economy, which could affect people’s livelihoods and cause general dissatisfaction.”

“People who face economic hardships will start making demands from the system, and will look for those culpable for the economic chaos,” Nouri said.

“In the wake of these incidents, and in the heart of the protests, a pro-Western candidate whose motto is that he can save the economy will put himself forward. In other words, the suggestion would be that it will be better if you vote for him... Under these conditions, the winner of the elections could be a candidate favorable to the West,” he added.

Nouri’s comments come in the wake of last week’s clashes between protesters and police over Iran’s currency crisis, and amid growing signs that the country’s economy is in serious trouble.

While protesters have blamed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government for Iran’s economic problems, Iranian leaders have tried to play down the unrest and blame the situation on the country’s enemies.

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Nouri also accused the US of using the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a guerrilla group formerly allied with former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein that opposes the clerical regime in Tehran, to spy on Iran. In September, the US announced it was revoking MEK’s designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, a move that angered Iran.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry made a similar claim this week, saying it had evidence that the US had suggested using MEK agents as part of a strategy to incite “fitna,” or sedition, in Iran.

Fitna was also the term Iranian officials used to describe the mass protests after Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of the 2009 elections.

The ministry made its claim on a newly launched website, on which it asked Iranians to assist the regime by reporting “suspicious activity” around the country.

Iran’s Fars News, which is affiliated with the IRGC, also reported the claims, stating that they had obtained from the Intelligence Ministry a copy of a Persian-language translation of a strategy by Jillian Burns, the former Iran officer of the US National Intelligence Council, to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

Fars said the strategy called for MEK agents to assist with “activating the infrastructure for a process of sedition, to promote economic discontent,” which it claimed was part of a wider psychological operation to incite unrest in Iran.

Fars claimed the strategy included seven points, including demonstrating widespread corruption; escalating conflict within the regime; blocking nuclear talks; reducing Iran’s revenue and increasing its costs; and encouraging unrest.

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