BEIRUT (Dispatches) -- Hezbollah says it is in talks with the Lebanese government about the possibility of Iran supplying the country with refined oil products in exchange for Lebanese pounds.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, head of the resistance movement, said a "calm discussion” was underway with the Beirut government over the idea that would ease the pressure on Beirut’s hard currency reserves.
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.
"We started a discussion...to see where this option can go,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech. "This track is moving...What’s the result going to be? I don’t know. But we have to try,” he said. Iran will announce its official position on the matter at the appropriate moment, he added.
Hezbollah supports the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab who has condemned a wave of violent protests recently, saying they are an attempt by opponents to overthrow his government and deepen the currency crisis.
Last month, a 115-page strategy document put together by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest Republican caucus in U.S. Congress, called for a halt of all U.S. security assistance to Beirut.
Back in 2016, Saudi Arabia declared that it was canceling $4 billion in aid to Beirut, $3 billion of which was earmarked for the Lebanese army.
Nasrallah on Tuesday blamed the U.S. for compounding Lebanon’s economic downturn, accusing it of preventing dollars from entering the cash-strapped country and banning investment.
Narallah also criticized the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, for interference in the country’s affairs.
Lebanese lawmakers will submit a petition to the foreign ministry
to summon her to ask that she adheres to agreements on diplomatic norms, Nasrallah said.
A judge last month issued a ruling banning media in Lebanon from interviewing Shea, saying her comments were inciting sectarian strife. Shea was later summoned to the foreign ministry.
Nasrallah blasted Shea as a "military ruler” who was inciting tensions. "Since the new ambassador arrived in Lebanon... she has dealt with Lebanon as though she is a military ruler, or a high commissary, as though she has authority,” he said.
"Every day she attacks [Hezbollah]... she insults and offends us,” Nasrallah said, criticizing the government for keeping silent. "She is pushing the Lebanese towards infighting, sedition and civil strife,” he said.
President Michel Aoun also condemned the U.S. envoy’s remarks, criticizing Washington’s continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Lebanon.
On Tuesday, Hezbollah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem said, "The starvation process that Lebanon is exposed to is run by the U.S. and its allies, and meant to force the country into capitulating to their policies and achieving the Israeli regime’s objectives.”
The U.S., he added, is "seeking to interfere in the outline of economic reforms and their implementation and is pressuring the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stonewall loans and financial aids.”