Hezbollah terrorist chief Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday confirmed an oil tanker is readying to sail for Lebanon from Iran, in clear defiance of U.S. sanctions.
If the delivery is successful it would be a direct violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran after former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Obama-negotiated JCPOA nuclear deal between Iran and world powers three years ago.
The move could then drag Lebanon into the covert naval war between Tehran and Israel, as Nasrallah dared Iran’s foes including the U.S. to try and stop the shipment, the semi-official Tasnim News agency reports.
“The vessel, from the moment it sails in the coming hours until it enters (Mediterranean) waters, will be considered Lebanese territory,” Nasrallah said during a televised speech to mark the Shiite Muslim commemoration of Ashura.
“To the Americans and Israelis, I say: it’s Lebanese territory.”
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The Iran-backed secretary-general of Hezbollah added it would not be the only shipment of Iranian fuel for Lebanon, as more vessels will be departing for the Arab country as soon as possible.
AFP reports since February this year, Iran and Israel have been engaged in a “shadow war” in which vessels linked to each nation have come under attack in waters around the Gulf in tit-for-tat exchanges.
The bankrupt Lebanese state can no longer afford key imports nor subsidise essential goods, leading to crippling and sometimes deadly shortages of electricity, petrol and medicines among other things.
Without the diesel needed to power generators, Lebanese have faced power cuts lasting up to 22 hours a day, with businesses, hospitals and government offices forced shut.
AFP contributed to this story