Washington on Tuesday of training "terrorists" in the Kurdish region
of neighbouring Iraq.
"Behind our western border, the US is training terrorists. It is
spending money and handing out weapons to be used against the Islamic
republic" of Iran, he said in a televised speech in the western
Iranian province of Kordestan.
"Our Kurdish friends on the other side of the border have told us that
the US officers are paying the Kurdish youth on the Qandil hills in
exchange for information," he said.
"They pay money to create mercenaries. It is unworthy of Kurdish
youth," Khamenei added.
The border region with Iraq has often seen deadly clashes between
Iran's armed forces and the Kurdish separatists.
Iranians have targeted the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an
Iranian Kurdish separatist group which has launched attacks on Iran
from rear-supply bases in the Kurdish mountains of northern Iraq.
The group is closely allied with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK),
which has launched similar attacks against Turkey.
On February 4, the US Treasury included PJAK as a "terrorist" group,
while the PKK too is blacklisted as a terror group by both the
European Union and the United States.
The PKK took up arms for self-rule in Turkey's Kurdish-majority
southeast in 1984, triggering a conflict that has claimed some 44,000
Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey all have significant ethnic Kurdish minorities.