Iran's president-elect reaffirms support for Russia, anti-Israel forces

Iran's President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian has reaffirmed that the country's support for Russia and anti-Israel forces will not change under his presidency.

The reformist candidate, who called for improvement in Iran's relations with Western countries, won the presidential runoff on Friday.

According to the state-run Iranian news agency, Pezeshkian held telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Pezeshkian reportedly thanked Putin for his congratulatory message and said that Iran values its friendly ties with Russia and will definitely strengthen them.

Iran has been at odds with Western nations over its nuclear development and other issues. It has strengthened cooperation with Russia, which also opposes the West over the situation in Ukraine, under former hardline conservative President Ebrahim Raisi. The former president was killed in a helicopter crash in May.

Iranian state-run TV reported that Pezeshkian sent a letter to the leader of the Shia militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, thanking him for a congratulatory message.

Pezeshkian expressed his intention to continue to support anti-Israel forces.

Observers say it could be difficult for the incoming Iranian president to strike a balance between adhering to some of the foreign and military policies of his predecessor and trying to improve ties with the West.