Iran congratulated militant group Hamas Thursday on its stunning victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
"Iran congratulates the great Palestinian people, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), all Palestinians combatants on this occasion," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.
"The Palestinian people faithfully chose the option of resistance and are to fully support it," the spokesman said.
Asefi expressed hope that the results of the parliamentary elections would "lead to further consolidation of unity among the Palestinian people and help them vindicate their rights".
"Palestinian people's massive turnout in parliamentary elections indicates the firm determination of Palestinians to continue struggles and resistance against Zionist occupiers. An atmosphere of joy and hope has prevailed in whole occupied territories," Asefi said.
Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction, won 76 of 132 seats in parliament, while the long-dominant Fatah movement led by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas gained 43 seats, according to preliminary official results on Thursday.
Over 77 percent of 1.35 million eligible voters cast ballots in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in Wednesday's elections, the first in a decade.
Hamas boycotted the first legislative elections in 1996 under the 1993 Oslo peace agreement between the Fatah-led Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.