Crisis-hit Lebanon to receive Iranian fuel donation soon: Lebanese official
The US is not expected to sanction Lebanon if it receives Iranian fuel due to its dire economic situation, according to David Schenker, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
By News Desk - September 26 2022

Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Walid Fayyad (Photo credit: Reuters/Aziz Taher)

In a statement to the media, Lebanese Minister of Energy Walid Fayyad announced his country’s successful efforts to reach a deal with Iran regarding an offer of free fuel oil shipments to Lebanon.

Upon concluding his visit to Baabda palace to meet outgoing President Michel Aoun, Fayyad revealed that the Iranian fuel along with fuel purchases from Iraq would provide Lebanon with around 8-10 hours of daily electricity.

The minister stated that work is still ongoing to resolve technical obstacles regarding the compatibility of Iranian oil with Lebanon’s power plants.

Additionally, the Al-Jadeed TV channel quoted Fayyad as saying that the first fuel shipments might arrive in weeks if not days.

Earlier on 7 September, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati ordered Fayyad to delegate a technical team to visit Iran to discuss the matter with the officials.

Mikati and Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Mojtaba Amani agreed to the “free fuel” shipment during a  personal meeting, the agreement was then publicly announced by the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, on 3 August.

In an interview with the online newspaper Al-Sharq on 24 September, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Schenker, dismissed the possibility of US sanctions on Lebanon if the deal goes through.

Schenker said that the administration of US President Joe Biden will not punish Lebanon considering the ongoing dire economic situation.

He added that the US will treat this donation similar to the two fuel ships transported by Hezbollah via Syria to Lebanon in September 2021.

However, Schenker described the donation as just another “political stunt” by Nasrallah to showcase himself as the savior of Lebanon.

Schenker reiterated that the US has nothing to do with the collapse in Lebanon, accusing Lebanese banks, Hezbollah, and the absence of a strong central government for the economic situation.

“We periodically provide aid to Lebanon, but not to the government, because no one trusts the government. No one wants to help Lebanon unless it helps itself,” said Schenker in his interview with Al-Sharq.

On the other hand, Yeghia Tashjian writes in The Cradle that the US is putting immense pressure on the Lebanese energy sector by leveraging the gas deal with Egypt and Jordan to influence the US-brokered maritime border talks with Israel.

In 2022, most households are dependent on non-subsidized electric grids, set up by private generators as the situation in Lebanon devolved into a near-complete energy blackout for the country.

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