Lebanon's Hezbollah says it will begin importing fuel from Iran

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BEIRUT, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah will begin to import gasoline and diesel from Iran, its leader said on Sunday.

Lebanon is experiencing a severe fuel shortage that has caused long lines at petrol stations and extended blackouts. Hospitals, bakeries and other essential facilities have said that dwindling stocks will cause them to shut down.

"I assure you, yes, God willing, we will definitely bring diesel and gasoline from Iran," Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech, saying the government was no longer able to provide.

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In June, Nasrallah had said that all the logistics needed for such a step were ready, and that Hezbollah would be able to do so while bypassing the central bank in order to avoid violating U.S. sanctions.

Nasrallah said on Sunday that Iran had assured him it would stand by Lebanon, and blamed the Lebanese government and American influence for a lack of response to the Iranian offer.

"It's settled," he said, adding that he would inform people of the timeline in the next two to three days.

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Reporting by Laila Bassam, Writing by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Alison Williams and Susan Fenton

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