Tehran - Iran's top leader has sharp words for US critics of his country's presidential election, which just got under way.
"Recently I have heard that a US security official has said they do not accept this election. OK, the hell with you," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks broadcast by Iran state television. He spoke shortly after casting his vote Friday morning.
Khamenei says if Iran was supposed to wait for US approval, there would be controversy.
Khamenei has repeatedly called for a high turnout as a reply to Western governments that have strongly questioned the openness of Iran's elections.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Thursday that while the US does not think the Iranian election process is transparent, it is not discouraging the Iranian people from voting.