In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a meeting with a group of  Revolutionary Guards and their families, in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2019.
In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a meeting with a group of Revolutionary Guards and their families, in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2019.

DUBAI - Iran's top leader called on Sunday for a crackdown on illegal weapons after the rare shooting of a cleric, and said easy access to guns in the United States served only a "mafia of gun manufacturers," his website reported.

"In some countries, such as the United States, weapons are freely sold in the interest of the mafia of gun manufacturers and this causes problems for the people," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted by his website as saying.

"But in our country there is no such problem and the sale of weapons is banned," he told senior police officials, adding that people must be prevented from obtaining firearms illegally.

Police said on Sunday that the suspect in the killing of a 46-year-old cleric in the western city of Hamedan had died in a shootout with police. The suspect's motive was unknown, Iranian media said.

"The killer ... of the cleric in Hamedan released images with four types of weapon on his Instagram page. It is the duty of police to fight such cases," Khamenei said, calling for controls on social media.

"Cyberspace has expanded a lot ... and represents both opportunities and dangers."

Guns are strictly regulated in Iran but are available in some tribal and remote regions. Poaching also occurs in protected areas.