(Photo credit: Bloomberg)
According to Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Mojtaba Amani, the Islamic Republic is ready to ship fuel to Lebanon, in line with an agreement signed between Amani and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in August, media reported on 20 September.
Amani was quoted by Lebanese media as saying that the fuel tankers will be ready to sail to Lebanon within the next two weeks, and that as per the agreement, a Lebanese delegation is currently in Tehran to discuss issues related to this matter.
Among these issues, aside from the fuel delivery, are those related to the repairment of the country’s power grid, and the construction of new power stations, which Tehran has previously offered to the crisis-hit nation.
However, Iran has denied reports that the agreement reached between the two countries involves the delivery of “free” fuel to Lebanon.
“Our talks regarding energy supply are being negotiated in the form of a package, but there are no discussions of free fuel delivery,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, said on 19 September.
In August, Mikati met with the Iranian ambassador and agreed on a plan to bring in fuel to Lebanon, providing Amani with the specifications of the fuel the country’s grid requires to run its stagnant power plants.
However, Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported that Mikati had been trying to find legal and technical ground to refuse the Iranian fuel, making the unrealistic demand that Iran provide enough free fuel to power all of Lebanon for eight hours daily. This is directly related to pressure exerted on Mikati and the country’s Energy Ministry by US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea.
As Washington attempts to block Lebanon’s accepting of Iranian fuel, without providing any credible alternatives, the country is still waiting on a deal to bring in electricity through Jordan and Syria, a deal which has failed to materialize due to a US refusal to provide the companies involved with a sanctions waiver.