Hezbollah chief congratulates Iran’s Pezeshkian on vote win

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Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday congratulated Iranian president-elect Masoud Pezeshkian on his victory, emphasizing Tehran’s role as a “strong” supporter of regional “resistance” groups.

In a letter circulated on the Iran-backed group’s social media channels, Nasrallah congratulated Pezeshkian on his “blessed election” by the Iranian people.

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“We in Hezbollah and in all the resistance groups in the region... always look to the Islamic republic of Iran as a strong, stable and permanent support,” the letter read.

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.

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

The alliance also includes Palestinian militant group Hamas, Yemen’s Houthis and fighters in Iraq.

Reformist candidate Pezeshkian, who advocates improved ties with the West, won a runoff presidential election against ultraconservative Saeed Jalili, the Iranian interior ministry said Saturday.

The election came against a backdrop of heightened regional tensions because of the Gaza war, a dispute with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, and domestic discontent over the state of Iran’s sanctions-hit economy.

The death of ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash necessitated the election, which had not been due until 2025.

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Hezbollah has been trading regular cross-border fire with the Israeli army in support of ally Hamas since the day after the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel that sparked the Gaza war.

Hezbollah is the only Lebanese faction to have retained its weapons after the country’s 1975-1990 civil conflict.

Its members have long fought in Syria’s war in support of President Bashar al-Assad, who earlier Saturday also sent his congratulations to Iran’s president-elect.

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