Iran ready to offer Lebanon 600,000 tonnes of fuel -Al Manar TV

Hezbollah flags flutter as a convoy of tankers carrying Iranian fuel oil arrives in the village of al-Ain in northeast Lebanon September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Aziz Taher/

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September 20 (Reuters) – Iranian officials told a Lebanese technical delegation visiting Tehran on Tuesday that Iran could offer Lebanon 600,000 tons of fuel over five months to ease its energy shortages, Lebanese TV channel Al-Manar reported.

If the fuel deal goes through, it would be Iran’s first shipment of fuel directly to the Lebanese state, having previously sent some to its ally Hezbollah, a powerful armed movement that is part of the Lebanese coalition government.

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Lebanon has struggled with defaults for decades, but its economic meltdown since 2019 has drained state coffers and slowed fuel imports for government facilities.

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This has left most of the country with just an hour or two of government-supplied electricity per day, forcing households to rely on subscriptions to private generators that have skyrocketed as global fuel prices have soared .

Earlier this month, Iran offered Lebanon a “gift” of fuel in the specifications needed to run Lebanese power plants, sources told Reuters, without details on the type of fuel.

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On Monday, the Iranian embassy in Beirut said the fuel ships could be in Lebanon within two weeks.

Local TV channel al-Manar reported that Tehran had offered 600,000 tons to be delivered over a five-month period. A Department of Energy source confirmed the amount and said the deal would likely close the next day.

“We sent a technical delegation to Tehran and they are studying the details,” an Energy Ministry spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.

Last year, Iran sent fuel to Hezbollah, which the United States and some other western nations designate as a terrorist organization. This fuel was shipped to Syria and then trucked to Lebanon to circumvent US sanctions on Iran’s energy sector.

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The United States took no action over the past year. The US embassy had no immediate comment Tuesday.

Hezbollah head Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly urged the Lebanese government to turn to Iran for fuel to ease its energy crisis.

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Reporting by Maya Gebeily and Timour Azhari; Editing by Catherine Evans, William Maclean

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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