The HEZBOLLAH Lebanese resistance movement does not rule out going to war with Israel over the regime’s attempts to move in on Lebanon’s natural resources.
The movement’s Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks on Sunday, amid a maritime dispute that escalated in early July, after the Israeli regime moved vessels into the Karish Gas Field, which lies inside Lebanon’s territorial waters.
Given the entrance of the Israeli vessels into the waters, he said: ‘Hezbollah’s leadership discussed the options before the country … there is a 50 per cent chance that the situation could be resolved, and a 50 per cent chance that it could advance towards war.’
Hezbollah’s reaction to the Israeli regime in the circumstances depends on the results of ongoing indirect negotiations between Beirut and Tel Aviv over the disputed maritime area, Nasrallah said.
On Saturday, US Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein arrived in Beirut in order to meet with Lebanese officials and mediate the talks between Lebanon and Israel over their long-standing maritime border dispute.
Just hours before the meeting, Hezbollah released a video showing Israeli vessels operating in the disputed area in the Mediterranean, warning that all the occupying regime’s platforms and targets were ‘within the reach’ of its missiles.
Nasrallah warned: ‘We have been ready over the past 40 years, and are still ready to sacrifice our lives for our dear nation.’
Israel launched two wars against Lebanon in the 2000s.
In both cases, it was forced to retreat after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Hezbollah.
The Arabic-language al-Manar satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah aired the drone footage on Sunday, showing Israeli ships at the Karish Field off Lebanon’s coast in the Eastern Mediterranean, along with their exact coordinates.
The one-minute video starts with Hezbollah Secretary General Nasrallah’s recent speech in which he warned that the resistance movement’s precision missiles can hit any Israeli target at sea or on land.
It then shows the Arendal Spirit platform, the UK-based Energean Power floating storage and production, and Stenna Icemax drillship located in the Karish gas fields.
The video ends with the footage of a rocket with the words ‘the target is within range’ in Arabic and Hebrew.
Hezbollah says its recent flying of drones toward the disputed Karish Gas Field was aimed at conveying a message to Israel.
The warning was broadcast just hours before US Senior Adviser for Energy Security Hochstein was scheduled to meet Lebanese officials in the capital Beirut to mediate the ongoing talks between Lebanon and Israel over their long-standing maritime border dispute.
The Tel Aviv regime claims the Karish Gas Field falls within its so-called exclusive economic zone while Beirut rejects the claim.
The maritime row between Lebanon and Israel is over an area in the Mediterranean Sea spanning about 860 square kilometres. Block No. 9 is rich in oil and gas. Israel relies heavily on gas and has long been developing a number of occupied offshore gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea.
The two sides have held several rounds of talks to delineate their maritime borders and resolve the decades-long dispute but to no avail.
Last month, Nasrallah warned that ‘no one’ would be allowed to operate in maritime oil and gas fields if Lebanon was barred from its ‘rights’ in extracting from areas off of its coast.
Also in early July, Hezbollah flew three unarmed drones toward Karish to warn Israel not to conduct any extraction operation prior to resolving their maritime border dispute.
- The Secretary General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says Iran is one of the most important founding members of the intergovernmental energy body and plays a significant role in bringing stability to the global oil market.
‘Iran and Venezuela are among the most important founding members of OPEC. Their role is great in stabilising the oil market,’ Haitham al-Ghais said in an exclusive interview with the Arabic-language and Kuwaiti al-Rai daily newspaper on Sunday.
He said that OPEC’s strength hinges upon its cohesion and solidarity among member states, irrespective of all unfolding international developments.
Iran has recently staged an exhibition of oil and gas to showcase its latest domestically produced petroleum industry equipment.
‘OPEC’s important message to the world is that reduction in oil investments will result in increased prices,’ Ghais said, stressing that an estimated 500 billion dollar annual investment is required to maintain the current production level of 100 million barrels per day.
The Kuwaiti oil executive argued that the latest surge in oil prices is not exclusively related to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and that the reduction of surplus production capacity has contributed to the volatility of the market as well.
‘The world needs $12 trillion of investment in the oil sector for the next 25 years. We expect the demand to increase by 3.4 million barrels per day this year, and exceed 102 million barrels on a daily basis by the end of 2022,’ Ghais said.
‘The London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange fix the prices of Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, not OPEC.
‘Some consumer countries in Europe, Asia and America have even tapped their strategic reserves in a bid to push down prices,’ the OPEC chief added.
Ghais also said that his organisation welcomes renewable and clean energy and that oil and natural gas will remain the main energy pillars of the world.
The OPEC secretary general said more than half of the world’s energy comes from oil and gas and it is difficult to replace them.
Analysts expect Iran to increase its supply of oil to the global markets by at least one million barrels per day (bpd) immediately after the removal of the American sanctions.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Iran is currently exporting more than 1.5 million bpd of oil.
- Tehran is ready to swiftly conclude the Vienna talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal and give the United States another chance to act responsibly toward its contractual obligations under the 2015 JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) accord, says Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani.
The JCPOA was a deal signed in 2015 between Iran and five major countries – the US, UK, China, Russia China plus Germany, in which Tehran agreed to develop its nuclear programme for peaceful purposes only. However, then US president Donald Trump unilaterally walked out of the deal in 2018 and slapped punitive sanctions on Iran.
Kani, who also serves as Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, tweeted on Sunday that the Islamic Republic has shared its ‘proposed ideas, both on substance and form, to pave the way for a swift conclusion of the Vienna negotiations.’
He explained that Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA P4+1 group of countries (China, France, Russia, the UK plus Germany) have been in talks in the Austrian capital with the purpose of ‘fixing the damaging and complicated situation caused by the US’ ‘unilateral and unlawful withdrawal’ from the JCPOA deal back in 2018.
The senior Iranian diplomat emphasised that Iran is working closely with its JCPOA partners, in particular the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission.
He said the aim of the cooperation is to ‘give the US another chance to demonstrate good faith and act responsibly.
‘As Iran, we stand ready to conclude the negotiations quickly, should the other side be ready to do the same,’ Kani added.
Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA have held several rounds of negotiations in the Austrian capital Vienna since April last year to restore the deal.
In quitting it four years ago, then-US president Trump immediately restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against the country.
Those sanctions are still being enforced to this day by the Joe Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a total failure.