(Photo credit: Dalati Nohra via AP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian arrived in the Lebanese capital on 24 March after visiting Syria for high-level discussions.
In Beirut, he was greeted by representatives of the Lebanese parliament, Hezbollah, as well as the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon.
Amir-Abdollahian said that his trip will include meetings with senior Lebanese officials regarding bilateral, regional, and international issues. He further highlighted the friendly and constructive ties between the two neighboring nations.
Upon his arrival, the Iranian foreign minister did not hesitate to reiterate Iran’s readiness to construct two 1,000 megawatt power plants in Lebanon that can provide affordable energy for the entire country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Over the past several years, the Lebanese state energy company has been unable to provide 24/7 electricity across Lebanon, with different segments of the country getting electricity for part of the day, while the remainder uses private generators.
This has left Lebanese with a complicated lifestyle of having to pay two electricity bills. Meanwhile, not everyone can afford to have generators, especially with energy costs skyrocketing over the past months, due to the inflation of the Lebanese lira.
The construction of two power plants in Lebanon by Iran would not only provide constant electricity for the country, but would also ease pressure on Lebanon’s dwindling foreign currency reserves, as it coincides with Iran’s other offer to sell fuel for electric power plants in exchange for Lebanese lira, rather than dollars or other strong foreign currencies.
The Lebanese state has received similar offers of infrastructure investment by China and Russia. However, to date, no official response to accept or reject the proposals from either Iran, China or Russia has been given, due to what critics consider undue overreach of influence on the part of the US ambassador on Lebanon’s sovereign decision-making process.