DUBAI - Jordan hopes to start supplying Lebanon with electricity by the end of the year, its energy minister said on Thursday, as the Lebanese government tries to tackle its crippling energy shortages amid the country's financial meltdown.

Hala Zawati told Sky News Arabia that Lebanon was seeking World Bank financing for the project, part of efforts backed by the United States to address Lebanon's energy crisis.

Under an agreement announced last month, Egypt will supply natural gas to Lebanon via a pipeline that passes through Jordan and Syria to help boost Lebanon's electricity output.

The plan, as outlined by the Lebanese presidency in August, also involves using Egyptian gas to generate electricity in Jordan for transmission to Lebanon via the Syrian power grid.

U.S. senators visiting Lebanon last month said they were seeking ways to address the complicating factor of U.S. sanctions on Syria.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Beirut on Thursday that Iran was ready to build two power plants in Lebanon, one in Beirut and the other in the south of the country, over a period of 18 months.

Iran backs the heavily armed, Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, deemed a terrorist group by the United States.

"We are completely ready to accomplish this project using the Islamic Republic of Iran's technical expertise, and benefiting from joint Iranian-Lebanese investment," he said, speaking via an Arabic translator.

He did not say who the investors could be.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli/Laila Bassam; writing by Yomna Ehab/Tom Perry; Editing by Jason Neely and Edmund Blair) ((;))