The Washington Post

Hezbollah defies U.S., brings Iranian fuel

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Dozens of trucks carrying Iranian diesel arrived in Lebanon on Thursday, the first in several planned deliveries organized by Hezbollah. The powerful militant group operates independen­tly of Lebanese authoritie­s, which are struggling to deal with a crippling energy crisis.

The overland delivery through neighborin­g Syria violates U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018.

The shipment is being portrayed as a victory for Hezbollah, which stepped in to supply the fuel from Iran, its patron, while the cash-strapped Lebanese government grapples with months-long fuel shortages that have paralyzed the country.

There was no immediate comment from Lebanese or U.S. officials on the fuel delivery. Local commentato­rs said Washington, worried about chaos in Lebanon amid raging, multiple crises, may have decided to look the other way.

Lebanon’s crisis is rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagem­ent by the ruling class and a sectarian-based political system that thrives on patronage and nepotism. Severe shortages in fuel have resulted in crippling power cuts.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced last month that Iran was sending fuel to Lebanon to help ease the crisis. The first Iranian oil tanker commission­ed by Hezbollah arrived in the Syrian port of Baniyas on Sunday. The diesel was unloaded to Syrian storage places. It was brought overland to Lebanon on Thursday by tanker trucks.

Each truck in the 60-strong convoy carries 13,210 gallons of fuel. Another convoy is expected Friday.

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