Dozens of trucks carrying Iranian diesel arrived in Lebanon on Thursday, the first in a series of deliveries organized by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, The Associated Press reported.
The overland delivery through neighboring Syria violates US sanctions imposed on Tehran after former President Donald Trump pulled America out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
The shipment is being portrayed as a victory by Hezbollah, which stepped in to supply the fuel from its patron, Iran, while the cash-strapped Lebanese government grapples with months-long fuel shortages that have paralyzed the country.
There was no immediate comment from Lebanese or US officials on the Iranian fuel delivery.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last month announced that a fuel tanker would leave Iran for Lebanon in a direct challenge to Israel and the US.
“The vessel, from the moment it sails in the coming hours until it enters [Mediterranean] waters, will be considered Lebanese territory,” Nasrallah said in a televised address. “To the Americans and Israelis, I say: it’s Lebanese territory.”
A new Lebanese government was formed just last week after a 13-month impasse as the country grapples with one of the worst crises in its history.
Najib Mikati was nominated to serve as Lebanon’s prime minister, the third time he has held the role. Mikati made a statement from the presidency in which he vowed to leave no stone unturned in efforts to rescue the country.
Mikati took on the task of forming a new government in late July, days after fellow veteran politician Saad Hariri threw in the towel.
Hariri gave up the post when he failed to reach an agreement with Aoun on a Cabinet.
Lebanon has not had a government since the previous Cabinet resigned following the deadly port explosion that rocked the capital of Beirut last August. Over 200 people were killed in the blast, which also left thousands injured and devastated much of the city.
Mikati has not commented on Hezbollah’s deal to import fuel from Iran, AP noted.
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