Lebanon: Hezbollah chief vows 'escalation' if Beirut denied maritime rights
The head of Lebanon's powerful Iran-backed group Hezbollah said on Friday the outcome of nuclear talks in Vienna would have no impact on maritime talks aimed at delineating Lebanon's border with Israel.
"Whether a nuclear deal with Iran is signed or not, if the US mediator does not give Lebanon what it asked for in terms of its rights, we are heading towards an escalation - we are heading towards a problem," said Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in a televised speech, without elaborating.
Lebanon claims the Karish gas field is disputed territory under ongoing maritime border negotiations, whereas Israel says it lies within its internationally recognized economic waters.
Israel is reportedly scheduled to start extracting gas from the area as early as September.
This has prompted Hezbollah to threaten attacks if Israel proceeds without first resolving the territory dispute.
The two nations are "reportedly closer than ever to an accord," according to International Crisis Group. However, political crises in both countries could delay an agreement.