Voting in Iran's presidential election has ended after an extension of four hours across the country and five hours in the capital Tehran because more people than expected appeared to have cast their vote.
The election, in which voters have a choice of six candidates, is the first for a head of government since a disputed 2009 ballot touched off months of political unrest in the Islamic Republic.
The first presidential poll since a disputed 2009 contest led to months of unrest is unlikely to change rocky ties between the West and the OPEC nation of 75 million, but it may bring a softening of the antagonistic style favoured by Ahmadinejad.
World powers in talks with Iran over its nuclear program are looking for any signs of a recalibration of its negotiating stance after eight years of intransigence under Ahmadinejad.
Voting in the capital Tehran, Khamenei called on Iranians to vote in large numbers and derided Western misgivings about the credibility of the vote.
"I recently heard that someone at the U.S. National Security Council said 'we do not accept this election in Iran'," he said.
"We don't give a damn," he added.
During the previous election, record numbers of Iranians voted in 41 locations throughout the U.S. This year, there are half as many voting locations.
On May 24, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry questioned the credibility of the election, criticizing the disqualification of candidates and accusing Tehran of disrupting Internet access.
All the surviving contenders except current chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili have criticised the conduct of diplomacy that has left Iran increasingly isolated and under painful economic sanctions.
Hossein, a 27-year-old voter in Tehran, said he would vote for the hardline Jalili, 47, Khamenei's national security adviser and a former Revolutionary Guard who lost a leg in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
"He is the only one I can trust to respect the values of the revolution ... He feels and cares for the needy," Hossein said.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now