US prevented Lebanon from receiving 600 thousand tons of Iranian fuel: Senior Hezbollah official
A high-ranking official of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has said the United States prevented crisis-hit Lebanon from receiving Iranian fuel shipment to ease power outages amid the deepening economic crisis in the Arab country.
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem made the remarks in a post published on his Twitter page following a recent drone strike against an Iranian fuel convoy heading to Lebanon through Syria.
“The US prevented Lebanon from receiving 600 thousand tons of Iranian fuel, estimated to be worth $350 million, which could provide 5 to 6 hours of daily power supply for several months,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Mojtaba Amani stated, via Twitter, that foreign sides thwarted Iran’s attempt to deliver fuel to Lebanon to activate the existing plants or construct new ones and prevented the provision of electricity to the Lebanese people.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah also reiterated during his Friday address that the US administration has been preventing Lebanon from receiving the Iranian fuel, describing it as a curse that has plagued Lebanon.
Earlier this week, Vice President of the Executive Council of Hezbollah Sheikh Ali Damoush said the US wants to deepen and exacerbate crises in Lebanon, and push the country to the brink of a social explosion, noting that a straightforward example of such an approach is the latest comments by Barbara Leaf, assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, at an event hosted by the Wilson Center in Washington DC on Friday.
Leaf said Lebanon will likely have to bear more pain before the impoverished Mediterranean country forms a new government.
“Things will have to get worse before the public pressure mounts in such a way,” that parliament selects a new president, she asserted.
Iraqi security and border officials said an airstrike by a drone targeted a convoy of 22 tankers carrying Iranian fuel that had entered Qa’im border crossing on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq late on Tuesday. Some reports said Israel carried out the strike, saying at least two fuel trucks were destroyed as a result.
A huge blaze was seen on the Syrian side of the border, a security official said.
The convoy crossed the borders into Syria after obtaining “all necessary legal approvals from Iraq” and according to the transportation documents the Iranian fuel was heading to Lebanon through Syria, two border police officials noted.
Back in September, Lebanon’s then Minister of Energy and Water Walid Fayad said an Iranian fuel delivery was vital to Beirut’s plans to reform its electricity supply system.
He added that fuel deliveries from Iran would enable the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water to boost its finances by increasing electricity supply to customers in the country.
Fayad admitted, however, that Nasrallah and the leader of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil had been influential in the success of Iran’s initiative to send fuel to Lebanon.
Lebanon has been beset by a severe fuel crisis that has left many households and businesses struggling with recurrent power outages, while its economic meltdown since 2019 has slowed down imports of fuel for government plants.
Last year, Iran supplied much-needed fuel shipments to Lebanon via Syria after the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement asked for Iranian help to ease the energy shortage in the Arab country.