Iran president-elect reiterates support for Hezbollah


Iran's president-elect Masoud Pezeshkian has reaffirmed the Islamic republic's support for Lebanon's Hezbollah group and condemned Israel's actions against Palestinians.

The statement, issued Monday to Hezbollah's chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the IRNA official news agency, was one of the first foreign policy comments from Pezeshkian since his victory in Friday's presidential election runoff.

Tehran provides financial and military support to Hezbollah, which was created at the initiative of Iran's Revolutionary Guards after arch-foe Israel overran Beirut in 1982 during Lebanon's civil war.

In a reference to Hezbollah and allied groups, Pezeshkian said: "The support of the resistance is rooted in the fundamental policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

He said he was confident the "resistance movement" would stop its arch-foe Israel's "warmongering and criminal policies" in Gaza, where Israel has for nine months been at war with Hezbollah's Palestinian ally, Hamas.

Since the war in Gaza began, Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged near-daily fire over Lebanon's border, triggering global alarm about the potential for all-out war as fighting escalates.

Earlier Monday, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Tehran "will not hesitate to support the Lebanese nation" and Israel "must be aware of the consequences of any adventurous action in the region, especially towards Lebanon."

Reformist Pezeshkian defeated ultraconservative Saeed Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator, in the election which was brought forward after the death of president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

After the vote, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the election result was a "clear message of demand for change and opposition" from the Iranian people.

On Saturday Nasrallah congratulated Pezeshkian on his election victory and emphasized Tehran's role as a "strong" supporter of regional "resistance" groups.

The Shiite Muslim movement is a key part of the Axis of Resistance -- an alliance of pro-Iran armed movements that oppose Israel and the United States.

The alliance also includes Yemen's Houthi rebels and fighters in Iraq, as well as Hamas.