The state-owned IRNA reported that Kuntar arrived in Iran with the former captors of Ron Arad, Mustafa Dirani and Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid, to receive honors for their imprisonment in Israel and their share in "supporting the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance."
Ahmadinejad with Kuntar, holding award (Photo: AFP)
Awards were also granted to 30 Iranian prisoners form the time of the Shah's reign, 10 prisoners from Muslim countries, and one prisoner from the period of apartheid in South Africa.
Kuntar received a statuette featuring two prisoners attempting to break through the bars of a prison. During a press conference, the convicted murderer praised Iran for its contribution to Hamas and Hizbullah.
"The Islamic revolution in Iran has a big part in the victories of the years 2000, 2006, and the most recent victory of the people of Gaza," he told reporters.
During the ceremony Kuntar said, "We must resist the American occupation because the Americans support dictatorship, and in the region we must resist the Zionist regime and destroy it."
The terrorist was released from an Israeli prison last year as part of a prisoner swap between Israel and Hizbullah, after he had been detained for 30 years.
Despite his long sentence Kuntar was ready to continue his fight against "the occupying enemy". He said, "Every drop of blood and every bit of pain are the price we paid for victory."
Dirani, a former member of the Shiite Amal group in Lebanon, captured IDF navigator Ron Arad together with his followers after the soldier had been forced to abandon his plane above Lebanon in 1986.
Dirani remained imprisoned in Israel until his release from prison in 2004, together with colleague Abd al-Karim Obeid, in a prisoner swap for Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three kidnapped IDF soldiers.