US Senator Richard Blumenthal said yesterday that the Lebanese authorities do not have to rely on Iranian fuel shipments to alleviate the fuel crisis crippling the country.
"Lebanon is in free fall…We've seen this movie before and it's a horror story…, but the good news is it can, should, and hopefully will be avoided," Blumenthal told reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Lebanon as part of a US congressional delegation.
The US ambassador to Lebanon is said to have previously informed Lebanese President Michel Aoun that the American administration would help transfer Egyptian gas to Lebanon through Jordan and Syria.
Earlier in the day, the Lebanese care-taker energy minister, Raymond Ghajar, said the ministry has received no request for fuel to be imported from Iran, appearing to confirm that Hezbollah has bypassed the state with a move to import Iranian fuel.
Last month, Hezbollah announced that a shipment of Iranian fuel oil was on its way to help ease crippling shortages of fuel. The group said two further Iranian fuel shipments had also left for Lebanon.
Yesterday, Iranian and Lebanese media outlets reported that an Iranian ship carrying fuel had reached Syria's territorial waters, where it would be offloaded at a Syrian port and then transferred to Lebanon.
However, Tanker Trackers disputed the information, saying: "The first tanker has not reached the Suez yet. Second tanker hasn't left Iran yet but has left port. Third tanker is leaving Iran. It normally takes 10-12 days to reach the Suez."
Tanker Trackers said a different tanker with 730,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil arrived several days ago.