Photo: Reuters

U.S. urges Germany to reconsider joining Gulf taskforce

Despite Germany’s refusal to offer the United States assistance in establishing an American-led naval coalition that aims to provide freedom-of maritime navigation in the Persian Gulf – the German Government is willing to consider a European alternative that will not exacerbate tensions. According to the German government’s deputy spokesperson, Berlin is adamant to prioritize a diplomatic approach to the Iran crisis, which led to its decision. “For us it is important to continue along the diplomatic path and to seek a clear content filled dialogue with Iran and to achieve a de-escalation and to work towards a continuation of the nuclear deal. Taking part in a U.S.-led mission could make this more difficult although we of course share the view that the goal must be complete freedom of shipping passage,” German Government Deputy Spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said.

Despite Germany’s refusal to join a U.S.-led mission, Demmer said that Berlin considers a European-led mission “worth considering.” “The German government views the idea of a European naval protection mission as worth considering and, as said, we are in dialogue with our European partners on this, especially France and Great Britain,” German Government Deputy Spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said.

With regard to Iran’s aggressive behavior, Germany “sharply criticizes” Iran for its actions, and demands that the Islamic Republic immediately releases the British-flagged oil tanker, named: the Stena Impero. “We collectively sharply criticized the actions of Iran. Free navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and surroundings is of great importance for the stability of the whole region. We again, with absolute clarity, demand that Iran immediate releases the British ship the Stena Impero,” German Government Deputy Spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said.

In response to the German refusal to join the U.S.-led naval task-force; Washington’s Ambassador to the country Richard Grenell urged Berlin to reconsider its decision. In an interview to the German daily Augsburger Allgemeine, Ambassador Grenell sought to remind the Berlin leadership of the significant American sacrifice that “helped Germany remain a part of the West,” while pointing to the fact that Germany is currently the largest economic-power in Europe, a fact that the American diplomat insists “brings with it global responsibilities.”