BEIRUT, June 25 (Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday reiterated his promises to import Iranian fuel if shortages persisted in the country, saying all logistical steps for the possibility were completed.
Nasrallah, who heads the Iranian-backed Lebanese armed group, said earlier in June that Iran could supply fuel to Lebanon in local pounds, avoiding a foreign currency tightening.
For weeks, worsening fuel shortages due to the deepening financial crisis in Lebanon forced motorists to queue for hours for very little gasoline.
“I want to stress that I have promised and I still promise (…) if we have to go to Iran to buy gasoline and fuel oil, we will do it, even if it is a problem,” Nasrallah said. in a televised speech.
Earlier on Friday, Acting Prime Minister Hassan Diab approved a decision to import fuel at a lower exchange rate between the Lebanese pound and the dollar, thus lowering the subsidy on gasoline. Read more
“Everything is ready … all we need is permission to move,” Nasrallah said, adding that this would not be done through the central bank in order to avoid violating the rules. US sanctions aimed at choking Iranian oil exports.
Asked about the US reaction if Iranian cargoes arrive in Beirut ports, US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea 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 continue its agenda,” she said.
Lebanon’s long fuel lines sparked feuds among motorists where shots were fired in several incidents.
On Friday, Nasrallah warned of civil violence.
“In all honesty, if you shoot yourself at gas stations, that doesn’t solve the crisis,” he said.
“There are a large number of 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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