Hezbollah warns US, Israel not to block Iranian fuel ship for Lebanon

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The chief of the Lebanese pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, on Thursday warned the United States and Israel not to intercept an Iranian vessel carrying fuel to help ease a severe shortage in Lebanon.

“Our first ship, which is ready to set out from Iran loaded with the necessary fuel supplies, has completed all the arrangements, and it will sail within hours. Other ships will follow it,” Nasrallah said in a televised address.

“We tell the Americans and the Israelis that the ship, from the moment it sails in a few hours, will become in Lebanese territory,” he added in the address commemorating Ashura, a Shiite Muslim religious festival.

Nasrallah hinted that if the tanker is attacked, his group would have the right to retaliate.

Lebanon, which is passing through its worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war, is currently facing a severe fuel shortage putting the health and other vital sectors in the country on the brink of collapse.

Power cuts have recently been frequent. Private generators are unable to provide electricity most of the time due to the lack of fuel.

Iran is under US sanctions and is banned from exporting its oil. The US has warned that it will impose sanctions on whoever purchases Iranian oil.

Nasrallah reiterated his accusations that the US is waging an economic war to serve the interests of Israel, an arch-foe of both Iran and Hezbollah.

“The US embassy in Awkar (an area north of Beirut) is the direct nest that is running this economic war,” Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah is trained and financed by Tehran.

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