Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei
Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah KhameneiNews photo:

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guards Wednesday to be on alert for "political and cultural" infiltration by the United States, AFP reports Wednesday. 

"The main purpose of the enemies is for Iranians to give up on their revolutionary mentality," Khamenei told a gathering of Guards commanders and personnel in Tehran.

"Enemy means global arrogance, the ultimate symbol of which is the United States," he said, calling on the powerful branch of the military to protect the revolution.

"Economic and security breaches are definitely dangerous, and have dire consequences," he said, "but political and cultural intrusion by the enemy is a more serious danger that everyone should be vigilant about." 

The enemies "are waiting for a time when the nation and system fall asleep, for example in 10 years when I may not be here, to realize their objectives," he added. "But the nation and the authorities won't let that happen."

Khamenei, who has the final say on all policy matters, has repeatedly shouted threats against the rise of Western influence in Iran after the nuclear agreement with world powers struck two months ago, including calling America the "Great Satan" and proclaiming "Death to America."  

Iran and the US severed diplomatic ties in 1980 after a hostage crisis when students took over the US embassy in Tehran.

Khamenei said last week that Iran would not hold any negotiations with the US beyond the nuclear issue.

The Guards were formed by Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini soon after the 1979 revolution to defend the Islamic republic from internal and external threats. They are one of Iran's most powerful institutions and fall under Khamenei's direct command.