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Lebanon: Hezbollah looks to import Iran oil amid fuel shortages

Supporters of Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement, watch him speak through a giant screen at a mosque in Beirut on 1 November 2019 [AFP/Getty Images]
Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shia Muslim Hezbollah movement, speaks through a giant screen at a mosque in Beirut on 1 November 2019 [AFP/Getty Images]

The Secretary-General of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, said on Friday that the logistics are in place to import Iranian fuel as the country continues to suffer from shortages.

"I want to stress that I promised and I'm still promising… if we have to go to Iran to get gasoline and fuel oil we will, even if it causes a problem," Nasrallah told a TV audience.

The pledge repeats what he said earlier this month. It was announced despite Lebanon's former Energy Minister's claim that the country has no intention of negotiating with Iran to import fuel.

READ: Lebanon approves financing fuel imports

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador in Beirut, Dorothy Shea, described the Hezbollah announcement about importing Iranian fuel as "really not a solution" for the crisis-stricken country.

"What Iran is looking for is some kind of satellite state that it can exploit to pursue its agenda," Shea said on Twitter. "There are other alternatives to provide fuel and electricity to the Lebanese people." Eradicating corruption is one of the solutions, she added. "There are much better solutions than turning to Iran."

The Iranian Embassy in Lebanon responded to the ambassador's comments on Saturday. "The arrival of Iranian oil tankers in Beirut is not hinging on the trifles of US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea," it said. "The ambassador should not interfere in the brotherly relations between the two countries and between the Iranian and Lebanese peoples."

It was reported today by Reuters that Lebanon's Central Bank would open credit lines to import fuel at 3,900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, a weaker rate than previously offered. This effectively raises the costs for ordinary Lebanese during the worsening economic crisis.

READ: Pentagon translator imprisoned for exposing US informants to Hezbollah

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