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Decision to import Iranian fuel aims to preserve dignity of Lebanese people: Hezbollah official

Tankers carrying Iranian fuel arrive from Syria at al-Ain village in Baalbek-Hermel province of eastern Lebanon on September 16, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

A senior Hezbollah official has praised the arrival of the first Iranian fuel cargo in Lebanon, saying the resistance movement made the decision to import fuel from the Islamic Republic in order to preserve the dignity of the Lebanese nation and end their humiliation amid a dire financial crisis.

Speaking at a ceremony in Nabi Osman village in the northern part of the Bekaa Valley on Sunday, head of Hezbollah's political bureau Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed strongly criticized Lebanese authorities for their failure to address people’s woes.  

“Lebanese officials only know how to receive huge sums of money from embassies and squander them… Cash is being funneled by Americans, Europeans, [Persian] Gulf states as well as Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The high-ranking Hezbollah official noted, “The resistance exposed their crimes, lies, and betrayal of the nation... Will the resistance’s move prompt the [Lebanese] government to solve people's problems, and import gas, oil, and fuel?”

“We cannot count on failed cowards to address people's woes,” Sayyed said, adding, “We will, therefore, act ourselves with regards to fuel or anything to do with people's lives.”

He emphasized that Hezbollah has for years been urging Lebanese government officials to improve relations with Syria, and to import agricultural and industrial products from the neighboring country.

“It is a shame that Lebanese officials decided to send a delegation [to Syria] after the approval of US Ambassador [Dorothy C. Shea] and when they were sure that Iran was sending fuel tankers to Lebanon. America now wants to supply us with gas from Egypt and Jordan,” Sayyed noted.

On September 16, dozens of tanker trucks carrying Iranian fuel arranged by Hezbollah arrived in Lebanon.

Hezbollah declared that it had broken an "American siege."

As they entered from Syria in the eastern region of Hermel, the trucks were greeted by large crowds of people waving Hezbollah's yellow flag and ululating women tossing rice and rose petals.

Last week, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the Iranian fuel shipments would be distributed free of charge to institutions, including state hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages and the Red Cross.

“[Hezbollah] is not looking to make a business out of this but wants to help ease the people’s hardships,” the Hezbollah secretary general said, adding that the rest of the Iranian fuel would be sold “below cost” to bakeries, private hospitals or companies that run private generators.

Lebanon has been mired in a deep economic and financial crisis since late 2019. The crisis is the gravest threat to the country’s stability since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

The economic and financial crisis is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Lebanon as well as foreign intervention in the Arab nation’s domestic affairs.

Compounding the woes, Saudi Arabia has imposed its own sanctions, including banning its citizens from traveling to Lebanon where Riyadh-backed elements have been jockeying for positions.

A new government was formed earlier this month to negotiate a financial rescue plan with international organizations.

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