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Originally published Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:01 AM

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Iran official: West launched 'currency war'

Iran's Intelligence Ministry says the West has launched a "currency war" against Tehran to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

The Associated Press

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TEHRAN, Iran —

Iran's Intelligence Ministry says the West has launched a "currency war" against Tehran to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

The director of the ministry's economy department, who was unnamed in the Monday report from the semiofficial Fars agency, says that expanding domestic production can help counter Western sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.

Sanctions include an oil embargo and banking restrictions that make it difficult for Iran's Asian customers to pay. Iran's national currency lost nearly 40 percent of its value in 2012 alone. It now fluctuates between 30,000 rials to 34,000 rials in the open market, compared to 10,000 rials as recently as early 2011.

The U.S. and its allies fear Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies.

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