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Iran’s policies and influence in the Middle East can boast a success.
On September 16th, a convoy of 80 tankers loaded with more than a million liters of fuel which were imported from Iran by Hezbollah entered Lebanon through Syria.
While passing through the northern Lebanese province of Beqaa, the convoy was greeted and celebrated by thousands of civilians, especially by Hezbollah supporters.
The Iranian-backed movement allegedly did so without even notifying the Lebanese government, as the caretaker energy minister admitted that no fuel import request had been submitted.
In an act of mockery, the tankers passed over US and Israeli flags, showing that Washington’s sanctions and Tel Aviv’s actions couldn’t hinder the cooperation between Tehran and Hezbollah.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in August that a convoy of Iranian fuel tankers would sail towards Lebanon “within hours,” warning Israel and the US not to intercept it.
On September 13th, he announced that all had gone according to the plan and three days later it arrived.
The Iranian fuel was shipped by sea to Syria’s Banias port in order to avoid any sanctions or restrictions by the US.
Soon after arriving at the port on September 12, work to discharge the shipment and fill the tankers began.
According to Hezbollah, governmental hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, municipalities that handle the task of pumping water, fire brigades and the Lebanese Red Cross will all benefit from the fuel shipment.
This will not be the last Iranian fuel shipment to reach Lebanon.
Other shipments are already on their way to Syria.
Even more could be imported in the future, Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah’s decision to import Iranian fuel provoked the US, which feared an Iranian economic takeover in Lebanon.
In response, Washington launched its own initiative to support Lebanon by providing gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan.
Dorothy Shea, US ambassador to Lebanon, informed the Lebanese President Michel Aoun “of the US administration’s decision to help Lebanon obtain electricity from Jordan via Syria.”
She claimed somewhat hopelessly that Beirut didn’t need Iranian fuel.
The big winner of this “standoff” to supply Lebanon with energy resources is Syria – as both the Iranian and US scenarios include Syria as a transit route for the oil to reach Beirut’s territory.
As such, the Arab Republic is surely to benefit in one way or another.
It also stands to show that much of Syrian territory is now safe for transit of valuable cargo such as 80 tankers filled to the brim with an explosive material such as fuel.