“We have the right to use all legitimate means that would yield positive results, as we strive for freedom, independence and liberation. We (Hezbollah) do not accept diktats that could advance Israel’s plan in the (Middle East) region, and undermine our independence and freedom, besides our struggle against the occupation,” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said at a gathering of Muslim scholars in Beirut on Tuesday.
He added, “We also would not allow anyone’s hostilities against us to go unpunished. We must be strong and prepared to take on challenges at military, cultural, economic, social and moral levels.”
Sheikh Qassem hailed the formation of a new government in Lebanon, which ended a 13-month stalemate in the crisis-hit country, and the arrival of Iranian fuel shipments as two major achievements for both Lebanon and the resistance front.
“Thanks to the firm and courageous position of Hezbollah, its supporters and advocates of Lebanon’s independence and dignity, the US blockade on Lebanon was clearly broken as truck convoys carrying Iranian diesel fuel arrived. The United States then had to spring into action and take counter-measures,” the senior Hezbollah official said.
He went on to say that the actions of the United States do not correlate at all with morality and humanity, and that Americans do not work for justice as it has been evident in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in the world.
The Hezbollah official called on the Lebanese government to ask US President Joe Biden’s administration to lift sanctions on Lebanon.
He stated that Syria is of paramount economic significance to Lebanon, and that Beirut will not be able to solve its problem unless it resolves the issue of Syrian refugees and re-establishes diplomatic and trade ties with Damascus.
Sheikh Qasem also said that Hezbollah supports the upcoming Lebanese general election, scheduled to be held next March, predicting that his group and allies will garner a high number of votes.
On September 16, dozens of tanker trucks carrying Iranian fuel arranged by Hezbollah arrived in Lebanon. Hezbollah declared that it had broken the “American siege.”
As they entered from Syria in the eastern region of Hermel, the trucks were greeted by large crowds of people waving Hezbollah’s yellow flag and ululating women tossing rice and rose petals
Lebanon has been mired in a deep economic and financial crisis since late 2019. The crisis is the gravest threat to the country’s stability since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990.
The economic and financial crisis is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Lebanon as well as foreign intervention in the Arab nation’s domestic affairs.
Compounding the woes, Saudi Arabia has imposed its own sanctions, including banning its citizens from traveling to Lebanon where Riyadh-backed elements have been jockeying for positions.
Last month, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the Iranian fuel shipments would be distributed free of charge to institutions, including state hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages and the Red Cross.
“[Hezbollah] is not looking to make a business out of this but wants to help ease the people’s hardships,” the Hezbollah secretary general said, adding that the rest of the Iranian fuel would be sold “below cost” to bakeries, private hospitals or companies that run private generators.