Forbidden No More

Lebanon was most likely a marginal topic on the sideline of nuclear discussions in Vienna, but the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group is expected to have direct implications on local Lebanese politics. Since the deadlock in Lebanon is largely a reflection of regional deadlock, it would be reasonable to expect a possible regional appeasement to contribute to unlocking the situation in Lebanon. The immediate post-Iran deal period is expected to be a period of hesitation and testing until the time is ripe for broad arrangements. While the overall regional balance is expected to tip in favor of the Iranians, in Lebanon, arrangements between Iranian-backed factions and Saudi-backed factions are inevitable, both at the political and business levels.

While the world prepares for investments in Iran, a Lebanese-centered approach considers how the deal could free up Iranian investments in Lebanon, particularly in the energy sector, long limited by sanctions, and a certain reluctance from some Lebanese. In the past, Iran expressed repeated interest in the Lebanese energy sector. Tehran offered to rehabilitate the country’s two refineries (currently inactive and used for storage only), build a power plant under favorable terms, and supply Lebanon with oil and natural gas. These projects faced a number of challenges and their feasibility was not always ensured.

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