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Iran Leader Votes, Says 'to Hell With' US

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has refused to endorse a candidate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2013 9:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Voting kicked off today in Iran's presidential election, with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casting his ballot bright and early—and offering a not-exactly-diplomatic message to the US. "Recently I have heard that a US security official has said they do not accept this election," state-run media quoted the supreme leader as saying. "OK, the hell with you."

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Khamenei hasn't formally endorsed any of the six candidates jockeying to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and declined to say who he voted for today. Most of the six are considered hard-line Khamenei loyalists, but support in recent days has surged for the moderate Hasan Rowhani, the AP reports. A win by Rowhani would be seen as a rebuke of the Islamic establishment, but wouldn't represent the kind of threat to its authority that the brutally repressed "Green movement" did. (Read more Iran stories.)

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