Lebanon not planning to negotiate with Iran on fuel imports, says energy minister

Hezbollah’s Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (pictured) said on Tuesday a “calm discussion” was underway with the government over the idea of Lebanon buying refined products from Iran. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 July 2020

Lebanon not planning to negotiate with Iran on fuel imports, says energy minister

  • Lebanon is suffering an acute financial crisis and hard currency liquidity crunch

BEIRUT: Lebanon currently has no plan to negotiate with Iran for the import of fuel, energy minister Raymond GHajjar said on Thursday, after the leader of the Tehran-backed Hezbollah group said it was talking to the Lebanese government about the idea.
Hezbollah’s Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday a “calm discussion” was underway with the government over the idea of Lebanon buying refined products from Iran in Lebanese pounds, easing the pressure on Beirut’s hard currency reserves.

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READ MORE: Pompeo - We are trying to prevent Iran from selling crude oil to Hezbollah

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Lebanon is suffering an acute financial crisis and hard currency liquidity crunch. The Lebanese pound has lost some 80% of its value since October, when the long-brewing crisis came to a head.
“There is no plan to negotiate with Iran at present about importing fuel and the current discussion is with Iraq,” GHajjar said, referring to talks with the Iraqi government over possible fuel supplies.
Referring to Nasrallah’s comments, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday taking oil from Iran would be unacceptable. “It would be sanctioned product for sure, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that Iran cannot continue to sell crude oil anywhere, including to Hezballah in the region...,” he said.


US says it seized four Iranian fuel shipments en route to Venezuela

Updated 27 min 45 sec ago

US says it seized four Iranian fuel shipments en route to Venezuela

  • It is the largest-ever US seizure of Iranian fuel, the Justice Department said
  • Tensions between Iran and the United States increased last year following a series of incidents involving shipping

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Friday it has seized four Iranian fuel shipments en route to Venezuela and confiscated the cargoes, disrupting a key supply line for both Tehran and Caracas as they defied US sanctions.
"With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in US custody," the Justice Department said in a statement, adding that the amount confiscated from four tankers was approximately 1.116 million barrels of fuel, making it the largest-ever US seizure of Iranian fuel. It did not specify when and where the seizure took place.
Washington has imposed sanctions on both countries to choke oil exports and deprive them of their main source of revenue in its bid to see the ouster of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and change the behavior of Iranian government.
Tensions between Iran and the United States increased last year following a series of incidents involving shipping in and near the Middle East Gulf.
US prosecutors filed a lawsuit in July to seize the gasoline aboard the four tankers, and a judge subsequently issued a warrant for seizure. Legal sources previously told Reuters that the cargoes could not be seized until they were in US territorial waters.
The Justice Department said following the seizure, Iran’s navy forcibly boarded an unrelated ship in an apparent attempt to recover the seized petroleum, but was unsuccessful and added that the US Central Command published a video of the attempt on Thursday.