Iran says it intends to continue shipments of petroleum products to Lebanon | World news
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran intends to continue sending petroleum products to Lebanon in the future and hopes that a bilateral deal can be reached to that end, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday during a visit to Beirut.
The Iranian-backed Shiite Lebanese group Hezbollah has been coordinating Iranian fuel shipments to Lebanon since August as shortages spread amid an economic collapse, despite US sanctions on Iranian oil sales.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the Iranian expeditions violated his country’s sovereignty.
“At any time, if the Lebanese government formally asks Iran as part of their fraternal ties (…) Iran is ready to send petroleum products,” Amirabdollahian said at a press conference.
Amirabdollahian met with Mikati and the Lebanese president on Thursday.
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Iran sends Hezbollah-organized fuel oil shipments to the port of Baniyas in Syria and from there they are trucked to Lebanon. Syria is also under US sanctions.
The decision in August to stock up on fuel for Lebanon at a time when severe shortages hampered daily life marked an expansion of Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon, where critics have long accused the heavily armed group of acting as a State within State.
On Friday, Amirabdollanhian said he hoped Lebanon would get a sanctions waiver in order to have more cooperation with Iran.
(Reporting by Laila Bassam and Maha El Dahan; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Gareth Jones)
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