'Participation in American Strategy' on Iran 'Out of the Question,' Germany Says

U.S. asked Germany to join Strait of Hormuz security mission, but Social Democrats warn of 'risk of being pulled into a war against Iran'

File photo: U.S. Marine Corps during a Strait of Hormuz transit, July 18, 2019.
U.S. Navy Handout / REUTERS

Germany says the U.S. has provided details to allies on its concept for securing maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf region and asked for contributions.

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Germany hasn't promised any contribution but is "in close consultation with France and Great Britain."

The U.S. last month promised more details after asking NATO allies to help protect key commercial waterways. The request came as tensions have soared between the U.S. and Iran, which recently seized a British-flagged tanker.

Germany's Foreign Ministry gave no details of the U.S. plan, but said "priority must be given to a de-escalation of tensions and diplomatic efforts."

It says "participation in the American strategy of maximum pressure is out of the question for us," referring to the U.S. approach to Iran.

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A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin said earlier on Tuesady "We've formally asked Germany to join France and the U.K. to help secure the Straits of Hormuz and combat Iranian aggression. Members of the German government have been clear that freedom of navigation should be protected... Our question is, protected by whom."

The comments, initially reported by Germany's DPA news agency, were confirmed by an embassy spokesman.

Ties between Iran and the United States have deteriorated since Washington pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. Recent attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz have further soured relations.

There is considerable opposition among Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, to getting involved in a U.S-led mission.

"The German government has already rejected participation in the U.S. military mission, Operation Sentinel, to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz," said Nils Schmid, a foreign affairs spokesman for the SPD parliamentary party.

"It should stay like that. Otherwise, there is a risk of being pulled into a war against Iran on the side of the United States," he added in an interview with the Stuttgarter Zeitung.