Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Germany Brushes Aside US ‘Maximum Pressure’ Plan for Iran

TEHRAN 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.

"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 Persian 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 stated.

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 Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) impounded Stena Impero last Friday when it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz en route to Saudi Arabia "for failing to respect international maritime rules.

"UK tanker ship, Stena Impero, has been detained by the vessels unit of the IRGC Navy's First Naval Zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization's office of Hormuzgan province for disregarding international maritime rules and regulations as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon," the statement by the IRGCN public relations said.

The statement added that the ship had been escorted to the Iranian coastal waters in Hormuzgan province and its control had been transferred to the Ports and Maritime Organization for further legal procedures and investigations.

In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria in violation of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington has applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US' unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the illegal move of London and described it as tantamount to piracy. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington's bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic's oil exports, rejecting London's claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.

The attorney general announced last Friday that Gibraltar's supreme court has ruled that the Iranian tanker seized by Britain's Royal Marines can be detained for 30 more days. The court's decision came a day after a senior Gibraltar's official described as constructive talks with Iran, raising hopes that the tanker would be released imminently.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has slammed Britain's illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning London of a pending response to the seizure of the supertanker that he referred to as a case of "piracy".

The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran's oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, "sabotage operations" on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months.

Source: Fars News Agency