Iran's top leader has sharp words for U.S. critics of his country's presidential election, which just got under way.

"Recently I have heard that a U.S. 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 U.S. 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 spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday that while the U.S. does not think the Iranian election process is transparent, it is not discouraging the Iranian people from voting.