Iran said on Monday it is ready to ship more fuel to Lebanon if needed.
In an online weekly news conference, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “We sell our oil and its products based on our own decisions and the needs of our friends. Iran is ready to send fuel again to Lebanon if needed.”
“Certainly we cannot see the suffering of the Lebanese people.”
The news comes a day after the leader of Lebanon’s Iran-aligned Hezbollah group Hassan Nasrallah said more vessels carrying Iranian fuel to help ease the country’s fuel shortage had sailed.
Last week Iran’s semi-official Nournews news website reported that the fuel shipments to Lebanon were all purchased by a group of Lebanese Shi’ite businessmen.
“We announce our readiness to sell fuel to the Lebanese government in addition to the fuel purchased by the Lebanese Shi’ite businessmen if the Lebanese government is willing,” said Khatibzadeh.
Hezbollah’s foes in Lebanon have warned of dire consequences from the purchase, saying it risked sanctions being imposed on the country.
According to the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, the United States was in talks with Egypt and Jordan to help find solutions to Lebanon’s fuel and energy needs.
The Lebanese financial crisis has hit a crunch point, with hospitals and other essential services being forced to shut or scale back due to power cuts and the acute scarcity of fuel.
Fuel shortages have worsened since the central bank said it would no longer finance the imports at heavily subsidized exchange rates a few weeks ago. The government has yet to raise official prices, however, leaving shipments in limbo.