Iran prepared to ship fuel to energy-deprived Lebanon within weeks

A Lebanese delegation is in Tehran to discuss enhanced energy cooperation

The Deir Ammar power station in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. AFP
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Iran will send fuel to energy-deprived Lebanon within a week or two to help power the country's ailing power plants, Tehran's embassy in Beirut said.

The Lebanese Energy Ministry said they were unaware whether a deal had been agreed upon, but said “any gift from anywhere is welcome”.

A Lebanese delegation is in Iran to discuss enhanced energy cooperation.

Iranian officials told the Lebanese delegation on Tuesday that Iran could offer 600,000 tonnes of fuel over five months, Reuters reported.

Lebanon and Iran are also discussing the construction of new power plants and upgrading electrical power networks, the embassy told Al Manar.

If such a fuel deal would go through, it would be Iran's first directly to the Lebanese state after it previously sent some to its ally Hezbollah, the Lebanese armed group and political party that holds significant sway in Lebanon.

Lebanon has struggled with power cuts for years, a problem made far worse by the 2019 economic collapse. There are widespread fuel shortages.

State electricity provides only one or two hours of power a day — if that — forcing those who can afford it to turn to expensive private generators.

Since the financial crisis first emerged, there have also been countrywide shortages in basic supplies including bread, water and medicines.

Earlier this year, Lebanon signed a deal under which it would import gas from Egypt via Syria, adding about four hours a day to the Lebanese power grid.

But the agreement is awaiting the approval of the US to ensure it does not violate sanctions on Syria, as well as promised financial backing from the World Bank.

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Updated: September 22, 2022, 6:00 AM