TEHRAN -- Iran's leading authority accused the United States on Tuesday of promoting terrorism and using arms and money to plot against the Islamic Republic in his latest verbal attack on Tehran's arch foe.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments in a televised speech are likely to disappoint the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama, which is seeking rapprochement with Iran after three decades of mutual mistrust.
"I say this firmly that unfortunately across our borders, our western borders, the Americans are busy making a conspiracy, they are busy fostering terrorism," Khamenei said, referring to the U.S. presence in Iraq.
"Money, arms and organization...are being used by the Americans directly across our western borders in order to fight the Islamic Republic's system. We should be awake," he said during a visit to Iran's western Kurdistan province.
Khamenei spoke a day after Obama set a rough timetable for his diplomatic initiative to Iran for the first time, saying he wanted to see serious progress by the end of the year.
Obama also held out the prospect of tougher sanctions against Tehran "to ensure that Iran understands we are serious."
Washington and its Western allies suspect Iran's nuclear program is aimed at making bombs, a charge Tehran denies. But in a break with his predecessor George W. Bush's approach, Obama has offered direct talks with Tehran to resolve the dispute.
Iran, which has repeatedly rejected the West's strategy toward it, says the United States must show a real shift in its policies toward Tehran.
Khamenei, ending an eight-day visit to Kurdistan, said the United States had "dangerous plans" for Kurdish-populated areas and sought to dominate the Kurdish people.
Iran, whose forces often clash with Kurdish separatist rebels, has also in the past accused its Western enemies of seeking to destabilize sensitive border regions. Like Iraq and Turkey, Iran has a sizeable Kurdish minority.
"Anywhere they (the Americans) can, they stretch their hands in order to put their contemptible and bloody claws into the body of the Kurdish people," Khamenei said.
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