Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday reiterated his promises to import Iranian fuel if shortages across the country persist, saying all logistical steps for the possibility have been completed.
Nasrallah 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 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,” said Nasrallah 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.
“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 how the United States would react if Iranian cargoes arrived at Beirut’s ports, U.S. 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 program,” 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.