August 27, 2021
Iran’s Tasnim news agency close to the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) tweeted on Friday that the first tanker carrying fuel for Lebanon has left Iranian waters.
The Lebanese Hezbollah vowed last week that Iran was sending fuel to Lebanon which is facing economic collapse and serious shortages of fuel for essential services. But the first tanker has left now and must sail to the Suez Canal before reaching the Mediterranean.
The move can provoke Israel to take steps to prevent the delivery, which will politically, and perhaps financially, benefit Hezbollah, its archenemy. The fuel delivery would also violate a slew of US sanctions imposed on Tehran and the Lebanese militant group.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has threatened retaliation if anyone tries to interfere with the shipment and he has said the tankers bringing fuel are Lebanese territory.
The move by Hezbollah to play a middleman in securing fuel from Iran is seen as a political move to further portray itself as the savior of the people, while many blame the militant organization for Lebanon’s political and economic crisis.
Some Lebanese politicians have criticized Hezbollah’s move, saying that it can put the country in the crosshairs of US sanctions, as Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist entity by Washington.