Ramin Mehmanparast

Iran says the West is trying to produce “discontent and conflict among the people of Iran in order to deal a blow to the Islamic Republic system.”

ISNA reports that Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told staff of the Armed Forces Social Security Office: “The West lies when it says the sanctions are only aimed at the government and not the people; their main target is the people of Iran.”

The U.S. and the EU have recently imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran that have targeted its financial and oil sectors. They claim the sanctions are aimed at making the Islamic Republic government more malleable in nuclear talks.

The West wants Iran to end uranium enrichment, but Iran insists that the uranium enrichment is only for peaceful purposes. Mehmanparast stressed that the nuclear disputes are merely “an excuse” to exert pressure on Iran. He added that the issue is “political” and aimed at creating unrest among the people.

He went on to add that the West is especially bent on increasing the pressure because of Iran’s upcoming presidential election, slated for June 14, 2013.

The last election was marred by allegations of fraud that led to widespread street protests, which the government quelled with brutal violence and mass arrests.