Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri on Monday that the premier should "consolidate relations" with the Shia group Hezbollah.
Khamenei's office's website said the leader was pleased that Hariri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah currently had good ties, adding "these relations must be consolidated more."
"As long as the occupying Zionist regime exists, Lebanon needs resistance," Khamenei said in reference to Israel.
"The only element of deterrence against the occupying Zionist regime is the element of resistance," he was quoted as saying.
Hariri is on the third and final day of an official visit to Iran, a staunch backer of Hezbollah.
The Lebanese PM had been told on Sunday by Iran's Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi that Tehran was prepared to help the Lebanese army. Khamenei echoed comments made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a meeting with Hariri, during which the Iranian leader called for Beirut and Hezbollah to work together against Israel.
"If the government and the resistance form part of the same front, this country will follow the path of greatness and development and the Zionist regime will not be able to do it the least harm," he said.