(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a message to Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday, described the group's resistance against Israel's military onslaught a "victory" for Islam.
"Your unprecedented holy war and steadfastness are beyond the limits of my description. It's a divine victory. It is a victory for Islam," Khamenei said in the message read by an announcer on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television.
Hizbullah is heavily financed and backed by Iran's Shi'ite Muslim theocracy.
"Your victory was a victory for Islam. With God's help you were able to prove that military superiority is not (measured) in the number (of soldiers), planes, warships and tanks. Rather, it depends on the power of faith and holy war," Khamenei said.
"You have ridiculed the myth that the Zionist army is invincible," he said.
Khamenei said the US-Israeli plan for "a new Middle East" had been shattered by Hizbullah's resistance against Israel's 34-day military offensive in Lebanon.
"Lebanon has emerged (from the war) shining and beaming as a result of its people's determination and heroism," he said.
"The (Israeli) enemy has made a mistake in imagining that by attacking Lebanon, it is targeting the weakest chain of the region's states to inaugurate its illusory Middle East plan as it desires," Khamenei said.
"But the American-Israeli enemy was oblivious to the Lebanese people's patience, intelligence and heroism. It was also oblivious to the strength of Lebanon's big arms," he said.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the US administration was working with its allies for "a new Middle East" where anti-Israeli militant groups, like Hezbollah and the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have no place. All three groups are on a US list of terror organizations.
Khamenei said the Israeli attacks targeting Lebanese civilians and infrastructure and the "massacres" in Qana and other Lebanese villages have exposed "the real face of leaders of America and some European countries, side by side with the hated and repugnant Zionist face."
"They (Israeli attacks) have also uncovered the level of lies and falsehood surrounding the hallow slogans propagated by those about human rights and democracy," Khamenei said.
He lashed out at US President George W. Bush for declaring that the Israeli assault in Lebanon was self-defense and had defeated the militant Shiite guerrillas.
"It (Bush's statement) has embodied before the eyes of everyone a flagrant example of this severity, outrage and injustice," Khamenei said.
He is the supreme religious authority to Hizbullah followers.
Calling Nasrallah "a dear holy warrior," Khamenei urged the Lebanese to be wary of Israeli attempts to sow discord among Lebanese politicians.
"All (Lebanese) should be cautious of these sprayed poisons. You will succeed, with God's help and power, in thwarting the enemy's conspiracies. With this, you will deserve another victory, God willing," he said.
Addressing his words to Nasrallah, Khamenei said, "The jihad you are waging today in this field is no less important than your jihad that is full with sacrifices and dedication in the military field," he added.
On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Hezbollah had "hoisted the banner of victory" over Israel and toppled US-led plans for the Middle East.
"God's promises have come true," Ahmadinejad told a huge crowd in Arbadil in northwestern Iran. "On one side, it's corrupt powers of the criminal US and Britain and the Zionists ... with modern bombs and planes. And on the other side is a group of pious youth relying on God."