Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has claimed that a shipment of oil from Iran had arrived in Syria and would be driven to Lebanon on Thursday.
Speaking in a televised address on Monday night, the head of the Iran-backed group said the tanker, carrying diesel, had docked at the port of Baniyas, from which its cargo would be transported overland to “avoid sanctions on the Lebanese state”.
He said a second ship would arrive at Baniyas within days and that two further shipments were planned.
The cleric also said Hezbollah planned to donate fuel for a month to civil institutions in Lebanon including the Red Cross, civil defence, government hospitals, nursing homes and orphanages.
“Our objective is not to trade or make profit, but rather to alleviate the suffering of the people; we have prepared a specific mechanism for the delivery of materials. Our goal is not to compete with anyone,” he said.
Reports last week that an Iranian tanker carrying oil for Lebanon had set sail sparked something of a fuel race in the country.
With the Central Bank unable to release dollars to pay for fuel imports, many parts of the country are suffering from chronic power cuts for as much as 22 hours per day.
The US threw its weight behind a plan to supply Lebanon with Egyptian electricity via Syria, a move that would require sanctions waivers from Washington.
Lebanon’s energy sector is close to collapse. Last week, experts told The National they expected Hezbollah’s shipments to meet only three days of the country’s needs.
In his first speech since the formation of Najib Mikati’s government last week, Nasrallah threw his support behind the new administration.
“The current government’s priorities should be to save the country from collapse, achieve reform and maintain people’s livelihoods,” he said.