Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad phoned Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh to congratulate him on the terror organization's victory in the terrorists-for-Shalit deal with Israel, which he described as the "fruit of strong and continued resistance against the Zionist regime."
"No doubt this is a great victory for the Palestinian nation and all Muslims and for freedom- and justice-seeking people of the world, and independent nations are as happy as the oppressed Palestinian people over this issue," Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.
According to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency, Ahmadinejad reportedly added that, despite the world's "bullying powers" supporting the Zionist regime while Gaza was under siege, Hamas had "broken the awe of the regime" and humiliated Israel.
Of particular note was Ahmajinejad's reference to Haniyeh as the "Palestinian Prime Minister" without any reference to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who Iranian officials have previously accused Abbas of "advancing Israeli plots."
Haniyeh, for his part, lauded the Iranian nation and government for their support for the "Palestinian people," and said the victory which is gained after years of resistance is a great Muslim and national achievement.
Shalit was held captive by Hamas for 1,941 days before being returned to Israel on Tuesday. The swap-deal came after years of troubled talks that had repeatedly collapsed.
Hamas Government's Minister for Prisoners Affairs Atallah Abu Al-Sabah had also said on Wednesday that the swap deal with Israel was a great victory as it marked the Zionists surrender to conditions set by the terror movement.
The "prisoner swap is a great victory in the battle between the resistance and the occupying regime (Israel)," Abu Al-Sabah told FNA in Ramallah on Wednesday.
"The resistance gained victory this time as it made the occupiers accept the conditions of the resistance and ink a deal for the prisoners swap, and this issue will boost the Palestinian Resistance's morale and motivation," he continued.
Under the terms of the agreement Israel will release a total of 1,027 security prisoners, some 450 of whom were incarcerated on terrorism related charges. Of those, at least 28 were convicted of murdering Israelis, including IDF soldiers.