On Thursday, the United States denounced a “public relations game” played by Hezbollah, which recently introduced tankers loaded with Iranian diesel into Lebanon, warning that importing fuel from a sanctioned country would not solve the acute fuel crisis afflicting Lebanon.
Iran is preparing to send more fuel in the coming days to Lebanon, via Syria, for distribution by its ally without going through the institutions of the Lebanese state, in a repetition of the process that took place in mid-September and once again proved that the Shiite party is the actual decision-maker in the country mired in crises. severe economic and political
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that “fuel from a country that is subject to numerous sanctions, such as Iran, is not really a sustainable solution to Lebanon’s energy crisis.”
Ned Price (file photo from AFP)
He added, “In our opinion, this is a public relations game played by Hezbollah, and not an attempt by Hezbollah to find a constructive solution to the problem.”
“We support efforts to find transparent and sustainable solutions to address the acute shortage of energy and fuel in Lebanon,” the US spokesperson added.
Price did not say whether Lebanon would be subject to US sanctions because of the… Iranian diesel shipmentsHe merely reminded that President Joe Biden is ready to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran if it returns to full compliance with the terms of the nuclear agreement signed between it and the major powers in 2015.
The US spokesman’s statement comes at a time when Hussein Amir Abdollahian, the foreign minister in the new Iranian government formed by hard-line conservative President Ebrahim Raisi, is visiting Beirut.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati criticized Iranian fuel shipments that entered his country without going through official institutions, expressing his belief that the way they entered Lebanon would not expose him to US sanctions.
Mikati said at the time: “I am saddened by the violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty, but I have no fear of sanctions, because the operation took place in isolation from the Lebanese government.”
According to an Iranian official, it was Lebanese businessmen who bought Iranian diesel shipments that arrived by sea to Syria and then entered Lebanon by land in tankers.
Hezbollah relied on the Amana Fuel Company to distribute imported materials from Iran, a company that has been subject to US sanctions since 2020 because it is owned by a Hezbollah affiliate.
Hezbollah’s introduction of Iranian diesel came in the midst of a severe fuel crisis in Lebanon due to the decline in its financial ability to import and amid an accelerating economic collapse.
Lebanon has been suffering for months from a fuel shortage crisis that is reflected in various sectors, including hospitals, bakeries, communications and foodstuffs, in the midst of an economic collapse that has been going on for two years, which the World Bank has ranked among the worst in the world since 1850.
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