American Sniper
American Sniper film encourages violence against Muslims, Iran's supreme leader has saidAmerican Sniper

Iran's supreme leader has accused the Oscar-nominated film American Sniper of promoting violence against Muslims.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's criticism is the latest to hit Clint Eastwood's film about the deadliest sniper in the US military, who killed more than 300 people during the second Iraq war.

Speaking against the movie, Ali Khamenei said: "The movie 'Sniper' that is made by Hollywood encourages a Christian or non-Muslim youngster to harass and offend the Muslims as far as they could."

He added that Muslims were unsafe in the West because of Islamophobia, reported AP news agency.

American Sniper has attracted heated debate since it hit the cinema. Critics accused it of revelling in the violence meted out by military sniper Chris Kyle during his tours of Iraq.

Director Eastwood claimed the film was an "anti-war statement" and it enjoyed enormous commercial success, racking up more than £300m ($461m) in ticket sales.

Kyle himself was shot dead in 2013 by another army veteran. Before he died, there was controversy after it was claimed the public was misled over the amount of proceeds from his book sales which went to veterans' charities.