The first Iranian fuel oil cargo secured through Lebanon's armed group Hezbollah will be delivered via Syria by truck to avoid complications related to sanctions, two sources with knowledge of the mater said on Thursday.
Hezbollah, a heavily armed group founded by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in 1982, announced last month that a shipment of Iranian fuel oil was on its way to help ease crippling shortages in Lebanon.
Hezbollah's foes in Lebanon have warned of dire consequences from the purchase, saying it risked sanctions being imposed on a country whose economy has been in meltdown for nearly two years.
"Choosing to receive the vessel via Syria is not related to any fear of targeting by Israel or the U.S. but is due to internal considerations related to not wanting to implicate any allies," one source told Reuters.
Lebanon's caretaker energy minister has said his government did not receive any requests for import permits for Iranian fuel.
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The sources said the shipment would arrive at a Syrian port and then be trucked to Lebanon, with the first priority being to deliver fuel oil to hospitals for power generation.
A report in local newspaper Al Akhbar on Thursday said the vessel had entered Syrian waters but the tracking service TankerTrackers.com disputed the report.