The Iranian fuel tanker heading to Lebanon had not yet left Iran as of Wednesday, but is expected to leave by Friday, according to TankerTrackers.com, who announced the delay on Twitter.
“One tanker is laden with fuel intended for the electric power grid while another still hasn’t loaded yet with (what we expect to be) motor gasoline,” the online service that tracks and reports shipments and storage of crude oil in several geographical and geopolitical areas tweeted.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah claimed on Sunday that a first shipment of Iranian oil was already on its way to Lebanon and that a second ship would set sail within the next few days. Nasrallah promised that more ships would follow.
“What we will bring is for Lebanon and for all the Lebanese, not for Hezbollah, the Shi’ites, or one region without the other. The goal is to help all the Lebanese and all the Lebanese regions, not to help one group without another group,” said Nasrallah.
Nasrallah also offered to help drill for oil and gas in the waters off Lebanon’s coast, saying that if no companies are willing to do so due to fears of US sanctions or Israeli strikes, the terrorist group could bring an Iranian company to drill. Nasrallah added that drilling for oil and gas in Lebanon’s waters would rid the country of the need to import fuel.
On Thursday, Nasrallah had warned Israel and the US that “from the moment the Iranian ship sails, [Hezbollah] will consider it Lebanese territory.” The first ship, he said, would carry diesel fuel since that is currently the top priority.
Nasrallah has warned on multiple occasions that Hezbollah would import Iranian oil on its own if the Lebanese government did not. Iranian oil is subsumed under international sanctions. Such a move could bring Iranian fuel tankers close to Israel’s shores.
On Monday, Iran said it would ship more fuel to Lebanon.
“We sell our oil and its products based on our own decisions and the needs of our friend. Iran is ready to send fuel again to Lebanon if needed,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said in an online weekly news conference. “Certainly we cannot see the suffering of the Lebanese people,” he continued.
It remains unknown what is causing the delay.