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Iran says it aims to continue fuel product shipments to Lebanon - Metro US

Iran says it aims to continue fuel product shipments to Lebanon

Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian attends a press conference after his meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Berri, in Beirut

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Iran aims to continue sending fuel products to Lebanon in the future and hopes a bilateral agreement can be struck for that purpose, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday during a visit to Beirut.

The Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group has been coordinating Iranian fuel shipments for Lebanon since August as shortages spread amid an economic meltdown, despite U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said the Iranian shipments constitute a breach of his country’s sovereignty.

“At any point in time if the Lebanese government asks Iran formally within the context of their brotherly ties … Iran is ready to send fuel products,” Amirabdollahian said at a news conference.

Amirabdollahian held talks with Mikati and Lebanon’s president on Thursday.

Iran sends the fuel oil shipments organised by Hezbollah to the port of Baniyas in Syria and from there they are transported by truck to Lebanon. Syria is also under U.S. sanctions.

The move in August to source fuel for Lebanon at a time when severe shortages were hindering daily life marked an expansion of Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon, where critics have long accused the heavily armed group of acting as a state within the state.

On Friday, Amirabdollanhian said he hoped that Lebanon would get a sanctions waiver in order to have more cooperation with Iran.

(Reporting by Laila Bassam and Maha El Dahan; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Gareth Jones)

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