BEIRUT, June 25 (Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday repeatedly pledged to import Iranian fuel if the shortage persists across the country, saying that all logistical steps for the possibility are complete.
Nasrallah, who leads the Iranian-backed Lebanese armed group, said in early June that Iran could provide Lebanon with fuel in local pounds to avoid a currency crisis.
For weeks, the worsening fuel shortage in the wake of the worsening financial crisis in Lebanon has been forcing motorists to spend hours waiting for very little gasoline.
“I want to stress that I made a promise and I still promise … if we have to go to Iran to get gasoline and heating oil, we will do it even if it causes a problem,” said Nasrallah in a televised address.
Earlier on Friday, Acting Prime Minister Hassan Diab approved a decision to import fuel at a weaker Lebanese pound to dollar exchange rate, thereby reducing gasoline subsidies. Continue reading
“Everything is ready … all we need is permission to move,” said Nasrallah, adding that this would not be done through the central bank to avoid violating US sanctions aimed at Iranian oil exports stall.
When asked how the United States would react if Iranian deliveries arrived in the ports of Beirut, US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea had previously told local broadcaster al Jadeed that this was not a viable solution to the problem.
“What Iran is looking for is some kind of satellite state that it can exploit to pursue its agenda,” she said.
The long fuel lines in Lebanon have sparked arguments among motorists, with gunfire being fired in several incidents.
On Friday, Nasrallah warned of civil violence.
“In all honesty, if you shoot each other at gas stations, that doesn’t solve the crisis,” he said.
“There are many crises in Lebanon, but we have the blessing of security and civil peace.”
Reporting by Maha El Dahan and Laila Bassam Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky
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