The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group on Sunday congratulated ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi on winning Iran’s presidential election, describing him as a “shield” against Israel and other “aggressors.”
Raisi, a former judiciary chief, won nearly 62 percent of the vote in Friday’s election on turnout of 48.8%, after his most prominent rivals were disqualified or pulled out of the race.
“Your victory has renewed the hopes of the Iranian people and the people of the region who see you as a shield and a strong supporter… for the resistance against aggressors,” said Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group.
The Hamas terror group also released a statement congratulating Raisi.
“We ask God to grant him success in leading the country, serving the Islamic Republic of Iran… and to continue and strengthen Iran’s honorable stances in solidarity with Palestine and its just cause, and support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people,” the Iran-backed Palestinian terror organization said on Saturday.
The Islamic Republic is a longtime financial supporter of Hamas, the terror organization that rules the Gaza Strip and is committed to Israel’s destruction.
An official in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Iran-supported terror group in Gaza, also congratulated Raisi.
“Once again the people of Iran have reiterated their commitment to the path of revolution and its regime. We congratulate the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran on this great achievement,” Youssef al-Hassayna was reported as saying by Reuters.
The election of Raisi — a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who is sanctioned by the US, in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 — became more of a coronation after his strongest competition found themselves disqualified from running.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett alluded to that as he referred to the election on Sunday: “It was not the public who chose him but [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei.”
“They chose the hangman from Tehran,” Bennett said in English. “The man infamous among Iranians and across the world for leading the Death Committees, which executed thousands of innocent Iranian citizens throughout the years.”
Raisi’s election puts hardliners firmly in control across the government as negotiations in Vienna continue to try to save a tattered deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program, at a time when Tehran is enriching uranium at its highest levels ever, though still short of weapons-grade levels.
Tensions remain high with both the US and Israel, which is believed to have carried out a series of attacks targeting Iranian nuclear sites as well as assassinating the scientist who created its military atomic program decades earlier.
Raisi also has become the first serving Iranian president sanctioned by the US government even before entering office over his involvement in the mass executions, as well as his time as the head of Iran’s internationally criticized judiciary — one of the world’s top executioners.