Hezbollah Warns Israel, U.S. Not to Interfere with Shipment of Iranian Oil to Lebanon
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has warned Israel and the United States against interfering with an oil tanker that was set to leave Iran for Lebanon on Thursday.
According to Reuters, in a televised address commemorating the Shi’ite Ashura holiday, Nasrallah said that the ship would be considered Lebanese territory from the moment it set sail.
“God willing, this ship and others will arrive safely,” he added.
Lebanon is in the midst of a severe economic crisis and experiencing widespread shortages of fuel and food, electricity, and essential medicines. The oil tanker is ostensibly on its way to alleviate the crisis.
Najat Rochdi, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, said in a statement on Aug. 17 that the fuel shortage required an “immediate solution,” as it was jeopardizing public health.
“I am deeply concerned about the impact of the fuel crisis on access to health care and water supply for millions of people in Lebanon,” said Rochdi, adding, “A bad situation only stands to get worse unless an instant solution is found.”
According to the statement, Lebanon’s largest hospitals have reduced their activities due to fuel and electricity shortages, which have also left millions without access to public water supplies. Essential medicines are unavailable, and hundreds of healthcare workers have left the country due to the deteriorating economic situation.
Last week, Lebanon’s central bank said that it would end the subsidies for fuel amid a country-wide energy crisis.
Instead, the central bank will extend lines of credit for fuel importers at the current market price—a decision that will increase fuel prices—as much as four-fold—at a time when energy shortages are already rampant in the country.
“Lebanon is a few days away from the social explosion. The Lebanese are facing this dark fate alone,” caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a speech in early July during a meeting with international organizations and ambassadors.
The situation is made even more critical because Lebanon, like most countries in the world, is facing a new wave of COVID-19 cases, noted Rochdi.
In his Ashura address, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah wasn’t looking for a showdown.
“We don’t want to get into a challenge with anyone; we don’t want to get into a problem with anyone. We want to help our people,” said Nasrallah, according to Reuters.
Nasrallah did not specify when or where the ship would arrive, saying this would be discussed when it reached the Mediterranean.
Hezbollah has been preparing fuel-storage facilities in Lebanon as far back as April, according to Reuters.
According to Al Jazeera, Lebanese troops deployed to petrol stations in the country last week, forcing owners who had been hoarding fuel to sell. The Lebanese army has also been cracking down on fuel smuggling along the Syrian border.
At least 28 people were killed and 79 injured when a fuel tank exploded in northern Lebanon early on Sunday, Reuters reported.
The report cited military and security sources who said that the Lebanese army had seized a fuel storage tank hidden by black marketeers and distributed gasoline to residents when the explosion occurred.
It was the largest explosion in Lebanon since the Beirut Port blast on Aug. 4.
At this point, I think the US or Israel should do what Iran has done, seize the tanker, hold it until the people of Lebanon rid themselves of Hezbollah.
Make no mistake; this is Iran and Hezbollah working together, not to aid the people of Lebanon, rather try to paint Hezbollah in a positive light since the population in Lebanon has increasingly been turning against both Hezbollah and Iran.
I think withholding medicines should never be done, nor food products, but everything else, put an embargo up, do to Lebanon what is being done to Gaza, tell the people to rid themselves of the shackles they are under, the US will offer them aid and help to build their nation back up. Still, only if it is without the terrorist group Hezbollah involved.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.