Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah reassured supporters that he was well on Tuesday after coughing episodes during his last speech caused concerns about his health.
“A human being is a human being, you get sick or tired sometimes,” Nasrallah said, thanking all those who prayed for him and asked about him.
Nasrallah had appeared unwell in his last speech on May 25, when he coughed throughout, but had then said he was suffering from allergies and nothing serious.
Rumors of Nasrallah’s deteriorating health condition began circulating after Nasrallah’s speech, during which he appeared to have trouble breathing and coughed repeatedly, but multiple sources denied reports that his health had deteriorated.
His son, Jawad, tweeted in late May that his father feels good. Moreover, a Lebanese media personality close to Hezbollah circles in Beirut said the organization has repeatedly denied reports on this issue.
“Some people killed us off and some started looking for a successor, I reassure them,” Nasrallah said, referring to social media rumors after his last appearance that hinted at a grave illness.
Nasrallah has led the Iran-backed armed Hezbollah movement for nearly three decades turning it from one of Lebanon’s many civil war militias into a group of regional influence.
“There are some people who expressed their love and distributed bread and salt, and wrote and called, and I reassure these, some sent some remedies and honey,” Nasrallah said.
“I cherish their love and thank all.”
As Lebanon makes efforts to form a new government amid an economic crisis, Nasrallah’s associates claim the rumors are being spread by Hezbollah’s opponents in an effort to divert the attention from the internal political developments.
Turning to the country’s fuel shortage crisis, Nasrallah said an Iranian proposal for selling Lebanon fuel in Lebanese lira is still on the table.
“If Lebanon accepts at this very moment, fuel ships would come now from Iran,” Hezbollah’s leader said, lamenting that “we are in a country that has surrendered to the United States.”
Fuel from Iran
Nasrallah also said on Tuesday that he was ready to go to Iran to seek fuel to help Lebanon deal with a shortage.
“We, Hezbollah, can go to Iran and negotiate with the Iranian government and buy shipments of fuel,” Nasrallah said.
Lebanon is in the throes of a deep financial crisis, and shortages in essential goods such as fuel and medicine have been worsening.
The Lebanese currency lost over 85 % of its value when compared to the US dollar. Oil is priced in Dollars but Nasrallah did not indicate at what exchange rate the Iranians will be selling the fuel to Lebanon in Liras .
Lebanon has been subsidizing fuel prices to make it affordable to the Lebanese but unfortunately Hezbollah has been smuggling the fuel to Syria thru several illegal border crossings which it controls and selling at at a much higher price in the Syrian market . This has created fuel shortages in Lebanon . As a result of this smuggling , the Lebanese stations are now rationing the sale of fuel and allowing sale of maximum 20 liters at a time and the Lebanese people have to wait for hours to get it .
In a related development the representative of fuel distributors in Lebanon , Fadi Abu Shakra, confirmed in a television interview today , that “the gas stations will close their doors within days because they are running out of fuel,”