Germany's Scholz 'very skeptical' about US mission for Strait of Hormuz

TEHRAN, Jul. 31 (MNA) – Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday he was very skeptical about a request by the United States to join a military mission for the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States had formally asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure the strait and to “combat Iranian aggression”, the US embassy in Berlin said on Tuesday.

Scholz said on Wednesday he was very skeptical about a request by the United States to join a military mission for the Strait of Hormuz.

“I’m very skeptical about that, and I think that’s a skepticism that many others share,” Scholz told ZDF television.

Scholz said it was important to avoid a military escalation in the region and that such a mission carried the risk of being dragged into an even bigger conflict.

“That’s why I think this is not a good idea,” he said.

Asked whether the coalition parties shared the same view on the US request, Scholz said: “Yes, that’s my impression.”

Scholz has appealed for efforts to prevent an escalation of tensions in the Gulf, and said the country was working closely with France and Britain, according to an interview with the Funke group of newspapers.

“The goal of all responsible politicians must be to observe the situation very soberly and carefully, and not to sleepwalk into an even bigger crisis,” Scholz told the Funke group. “De-escalation is the order of the day.”

He said Germany was coordinating closely with France and Britain, and the goal remained to uphold the nuclear agreement with Iran.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that since Berlin gives priority to reducing tensions and diplomatic efforts, it has rejected the US proposal to set up maritime coalition against Iran in the Persian Gulf.

Last week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Berlin had yet to take a final decision on joining an international coalition to protect commercial ships in the region.

Furthermore, UK has called for a European-led maritime mission to ensure safe passage around the Persian Gulf, following Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker last week.

According to German News Service (DW), Germany's coalition government is split over whether to contribute to the UK's proposed mission to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The Social Democrats say military options would only escalate the conflict.

Earlier this month, Iran seized a UK-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz for violating international maritime rules, while the UK had previously captured an Iranian supertanker in the Gibraltar. Iran has condemned the British seizure of the 'Grace 1' as 'piracy' and demanded the ship be freed.

ZZ/FNA13980509000287

News Code 148297

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