"To hell with you if you do not believe in our election!"

As voting in the Iranian presidential election began on Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, lashed out at the United States.

Addressing American skepticism about the outcome of the election, he told reporters: “To hell with you if you do not believe in our election! If the Iranian nation had to wait for you to see what you believe in and what you do not, then the Iranian nation would have lagged behind.”

He was responding to comments from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said last month in Washington that he expected no shift in Iran’s nuclear policies because Ayatollah Khamenei is responsible for the program.

“I do not have high expectations that the election is going to change the fundamental calculus of Iran,” Mr. Kerry said. “This is not a portfolio that is in the hands of a new president or the president; it’s in the hands of the supreme leader. And the supreme leader ultimately will make that decision, I believe.”