A senior Lebanese parliamentarian says the fuel aid shipments sent by Iran to help the Lebanese people proved who Lebanon's true friends are while exposing the country’s “Arab and Western allies” as its enemies.
“The (fuel) crisis proved who Lebanon’s friends and foes are... A friend is the one who helps our country,” Cesar Maalouf, the member of the Lebanese Parliament for the Strong Republic bloc, said in a Friday call with Lebanon's al-Mayadeen television network.
Referring to Israel as the enemy of Lebanon, he also said the Israeli reaction to Iran’s fuel aid was a violation of Beirut’s sovereignty.
“Shouldn’t we accept Iran’s aid when our Arab and Western allies betray us... (and) while other countries seek to humiliate our nation?” the Lebanese MP added.
Maalouf said Lebanon accepts any unconditional aid to its people and emphasized that Iran does not impose its conditions on anyone.
In an apparent warning to Israel and the United States, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday the resistance movement would regard the ship carrying Iranian fuel for Lebanon and other tankers to carry Iranian fuel as Lebanese territory.
The ship will be carrying diesel since it is a top priority for the Lebanese people’s livelihoods, Nasrallah said, promising that it will be followed by other ships carrying more fuel. “We do not accept the humiliation of our people.”
“From the moment the ship begins to sail, [Hezbollah] will consider it Lebanese soil,” he said, warning the enemies against challenging Hezbollah on the matter.
Later on Thursday, a report by Iran's Supreme National Security Council said the fuel shipments sent by Tehran to help the Lebanese people have been paid for in advance by a group of Lebanon's Shia businesspeople.
“The Iranian fuel shipments which Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah mentioned today have been all purchased by a group of Shia Lebanese businesspeople, and they are considered their property from the moment of loading,” the report said.
The Hezbollah chief had already voiced willingness on a number of occasions to import Iran’s oil to counter Lebanon’s dire fuel shortage, in case the government fails to deal with the crisis.
On Sunday, he asserted that Hezbollah would “definitely” import fuel from Iran, and would do so “in broad daylight, not at night.”
Since 2019, Lebanon has been paralyzed by a major financial crisis, which has cut the value of its currency by more than 90 percent, eliminated jobs, and made banks freeze accounts.
Nasrallah’s Thursday comments come as tensions run high between Israel and Iran in the aftermath of an alleged attack against the Israeli-managed Mercer Street tanker off the coast of Oman in July, after which Israel, the US and Britain were quick to blame Iran and threatened a “response.” Tehran, however, rejected the accusation as “baseless” and “childish.”