| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

Hezbollah implicates Lebanon with sanctions, fuel ship coming from Iran

Hezbollah opened Lebanon’s fate today to all possibilities, announcing that a ship loaded with fuel headed towards the country from Iran, and threatened a military escalation if that ship is targeted, despite the fact that European and US sanctions are still imposed on the export of Iranian oil.

In a speech, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said today: “Our first ship will depart within hours from Iran, carrying diesel fuel, and other ships will follow.”

In what resembles a warning to the United States and Israel, he said, “The ship will be a Lebanese land as soon as it sails,” which indicates the possibility of a military escalation, at a time when Lebanon is witnessing one of the worst economic and living crises in several decades.

He also claimed in the speech that was broadcasted by Al-Manar TV, affiliated with itsIranian-funded party, on the occasion of Ashura, “This ship and the other ships will arrive safe and sound.”

Moreover, he considered the fuel crisis to be “fabricated,” saying, “If the state had acted since the beginning of the crisis, with a courageous decision as happened during the past days, we would not have seen queues of humiliation.”

This talk, which observers describe as dangerous, comes in light of a war of ships between Iran and Israel, stated months ago, in a time Lebanon cannot tolerate any military escalation in light of the catastrophic economic and living conditions.

It is noteworthy that informed sources had previously reported to that the leader of the Hezbollah militia, who had insisted last July on the entry of Iranian ships into Lebanon through the port of Beirut, abandoned the idea based on the advice of one of his allies,  that Lebanon could not tolerate the results of more sanctions on it. He agreed with the Iranian leadership that the Baniyas port in Syria would be the destination of Iranian oil ships, and that it would later be transferred into Lebanon.

For months, the country has been suffering from fuel outage that has affected the work of several vital sectors, while black market traders and smugglers have been active on a large scale throughout the country, hoping to sell them at much higher prices, or smuggle it to Syria.

Hezbollah, which controls several border areas between Lebanon and Syria, is often accused of turning a blind eye or even of being involved in these smuggling operations. One of the clerics supporting it had confirmed in previous statements, that “smuggling operations to Syria are an act of resistance.”