Lebanese Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar said on Wednesday that the country’s caretaker government has not received a request to import fuel from Iran. His comments come after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had announced last month that a shipment of Iranian fuel could help the country deal with shortages.

Nasrallah had also warned Israel and the U.S. against interfering with an oil tanker that was set to leave Iran for Lebanon.

Asked if an Iranian shipment was coming without permits, Ghajar said, “No. We do not have information. Permission was not requested from us. This is all I am saying,” reported Reuters. “Our role is restricted to import permits, we did not receive a request for permission,” he said.

Hezbollah is the most powerful political player in Lebanon and seemed to be moving to import Iranian fuel without involving the state, according to the report.

Lebanese Prime Minister-Designate Najib Mikati said that if Lebanon would import cargo from Iran, it would subject the country to sanctions from the West, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Notably, it was Hezbollah that nominated Mikati to his current position.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah is facing harsh criticism as the country faces an ongoing economic and political crisis, the AP reported on Wednesday. Protests have occurred in Hezbollah strongholds over electricity cuts and fuel shortages.


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