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    Berlin Brushes Aside US ‘Maximum Pressure' Plan for Iran, Demands European Approach to Gulf Op

    © AP Photo / Ingo Wagner
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    Following incidents involving commercial vessels near the Strait of Hormuz, Washington has invited its allies to take part in a mission in the region to protect freedom of navigation there together. Germany, however, seems more open to a similar plan proposed by the UK.

    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas insisted that the US strategy of “maximum pressure” against Iran is an unacceptable scenario for Berlin’s involvement in the region. The top diplomat welcomed the UK-proposed operation, which is intended to protect commercial ships in the Persian Gulf and near the Strait of Hormuz.

    "Our local involvement must have a European face. We do not participate in the American strategy of ‘maximum pressure'”, Maas told the German media group Funke.

    However, he pointed out that Germany would only be able to decide on its participation in the naval deployment proposed by the UK if it is given “clarity on the design of such a mission”.

    "We are in contact with the new British government, in particular to find out how it is positioning itself. The plans are still in the initial phase", Maas noted, adding that political and legal questions about the mission need to be answered first.

    Although Berlin has taken a cautious position, the German top diplomat stated that Europe has a vested interest in ensuring safety in the Gulf. According to him, the German government, France, and the UK are discussing ways to bring the regional powers together around the issue of maritime security.

    "There are still diplomatic difficulties that we have to overcome, which requires dialogue and discussing common rules in order to avoid unwanted escalations", he said.

    In contrast to Germany, Denmark has taken a more decisive stance and favours participating in the UK-proposed deployment in the Persian Gulf. According to Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, Copenhagen is positively evaluating its potential naval contribution.

    Apart from Denmark, France and Italy have reportedly supported the UK plan to launch a European-led maritime mission in the Strait of Hormuz to boost the security of commercial navigation there.

    The UK devised the plan to launch an international security mission in the Strait of Hormuz following growing tensions around the key oil shipping route. The situation escalated on 19 July, when Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized UK oil tanker the Stena Impero over what it described as a breach of international maritime regulations. The move followed a similar incident off the coast of the UK’s overseas territory of Gibraltar on 4 July, when British forces seized an Iranian tanker, alleging that it was in breach of EU sanctions against Syria.

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    UK Ship Passes Strait of Hormuz for First Time Since Iran Seized British Tanker – Report
    Three EU States Support UK Plan to Create Maritime Force After Iran's Tanker Seizure – Reports
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    Strait of Hormuz, UK, Iran, Germany
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