Iran's interior minister Sadeq Mahsouli accused the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of helping to fund rioters, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Britain, America and the Zionist regime (Israel) were behind the recent unrest in Tehran, Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli was quoted as saying by Fars.

Many of the rioters were in contact with America, CIA and the MKO and are being fed by their financial resources, he said.

The MKO (Mujahideen Khalq Organization) is an exiled Iranian opposition group.

Meanwhile, Iran's intelligence minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said Some people arrested with British passports were involved in recent riots, Fars reported. And the minister also said one of those arrested was disguised as a journalist and he was collecting information needed by the enemies.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said:Iran's decision to try to turn what are internal matters for Iran into a conflict with the UK - and others - is deeply regrettable and without foundation in fact.

Iran says pro-opposition demonstrators have been backed by the West, the United States and Britain in particular. London and Washington have rejected the accusations.

It was the latest in a series of allegations by Tehran of a Western role in the most widespread street unrest that has rocked Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution.