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Lebanon: Hezbollah says more Iran fuel is on the way 

August 23, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon’s militant Shia Muslim Hezbollah movement, speaks through a giant screen at a mosque in Beirut. [AFP/Getty Images]

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement has announced that more Iranian fuel is on its way to the country, with vessels expected to arrive “within a few days”, according to yesterday’s speech by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

It was the second time in four days that Nasrallah said that the fuel shipments would be leaving Iran for Lebanon amid the country’s severe fuel shortages.

The Lebanese government has not commented on Nasrallah’s announcement but said yesterday that it will be raising gasoline prices by 66 per cent as part of a partial reduction of fuel subsidies.

While the Iranian shipment of much-needed diesel could risk violating US sanctions, should it dock at one of Lebanon’s ports, the National reported that it may instead be diverted to neighbouring Syria to bypass the restrictions, with the fuel being transported by road.

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Last week, during a speech commemorating the Day of Ashura, Nasrallah said that the Iranian fuel shipments had been purchased in advance and paid for by Shia Lebanese business people.

In an apparent warning to Washington and Tel Aviv, who both oppose the fuel shipments, Nasrallah stressed that the ship will be considered the property of Lebanon from the moment it leaves Iran and that any acts of aggression against it would be deemed aggression against Lebanon. “God willing, this ship and others will arrive safely, we don’t want confrontation with anyone. We are only after helping our people… We reject to be humiliated in any military, political or economic war. We refuse the humiliation of our people, let no one dare to challenge us,” he said.

In June, the Hezbollah leader stated that the movement was prepared to turn to Tehran amid the country’s worsening fuel shortages. Iran has also provided Venezuela fuel despite US sanctions imposed on both countries.

Lebanon has been in a deep financial crisis since 2019 which has seen the pound lose 90 per cent of its value and many people struggling to meet basic needs. The country has also been without a properly functioning government following the formal resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who currently serves in a caretaker role, and his cabinet after last year’s tragic explosion at Beirut Port.

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