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Hezbollah on alert as first Iranian fuel tanker en route to Lebanon

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Cars line up at one of the few open gas stations in Beirut, Lebanon, on July 3, 2021, as the Arab country faces severe fuel shortages disrupting daily life. (File photo via Shutterstock.com)

Iran’s first fuel tanker that set sail two weeks ago is en route to Lebanon as a second ship also begins its journey to assuage the sufferings endured by the Lebanese people under severe fuel shortages and American sanctions.

Data from TankerTrackers, a global tanker tracking website, showed that the first ship is sailing toward Lebanon.

Citing informed sources, Lebanon’s al-Manar television network also confirmed the report.

Meanwhile, Hebrew sources said that Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah is at a state of alert in case the Israeli regime makes a miscalculation with regard to the ship.

On August 19, Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned the US and Israel that the vessels carrying Iranian fuel would be regarded as “Lebanese territory,” as he announced the departure of the first ship from Iran.

Earlier today, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh cautioned against any move targeting the tankers, saying that neither the US nor any other country is in a position to stop legitimate trade between Iran and Lebanon.

“We are very serious about exercising our sovereignty and everyone should know that legitimate trade in this sphere is one of the basic principles of international law,” Khatibzadeh said during a virtual press conference.

Fuel shortages in Lebanon have forced businesses and government offices to close, threatening to cause blackouts at hospitals and halt transportation and other vital sectors in the Arab country.

The plan to send Iranian fuel to Lebanon is seen as a watershed in breaking US sanctions, which have targeted both countries.

Just a few hours after Nasrallah’s August 19 announcement, US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea claimed that Washington would help Lebanon implement a plan to transfer Egyptian gas to Lebanon for power generation.

The Hezbollah leader later derided Shea’s plan as an act of “selling illusions to the Lebanese,” saying even if implemented, it could take a year to import gas from Egypt to Lebanon.

In remarks on Friday, Nasrallah announced that a deal was reached with Tehran to import a third fuel-loaded tanker to ease crippling shortages in the country.

“The coming days will prove those doubtful about the shipments arriving with fuel wrong ... and our words will be clear when the first vessel reaches Lebanon,” he said in a televised speech.

He also said the country’s economic crisis was the result of an economic siege imposed by the US, stressing that the so-called Caesar sanctions by Washington on Syria had also harmed Lebanon.

“Go ahead and give Lebanon an exemption for Iranian gasoline and diesel ... go ahead and give Lebanon an exemption from Caesar,” Nasrallah said, addressing Washington in his speech.


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