German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday reiterated that Germany would not join a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz while he said that his country favoured a European mission but warned it was rather difficult to make progress on that.
The UK Ministry of Defence said Monday that the Royal Navy would be working with the United States Navy to assure the security of merchant shipping passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
British officials stressed that there was no change to London’s policy on Iran but joining the United States is the most significant non-Brexit foreign policy move to date of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 12-day-old government, according to Reuters.
Just two weeks ago, Britain was calling for a European-led naval mission. Now, it has joined what it said was a US-led “international maritime security mission”. No other nations are yet involved.
It was last Wednesday that German top diplomat explicitly ruled out German participation in the US-led naval mission, after the US said it had made a formal request. Mass said Germany wanted to ease tensions with Iran and everything should be done to avoid an escalation.
Relations between the United States and Germany have soured since US President Donald Trump took office, due to disagreements on a range of issues from defense spending to trade tariffs, the NordStream 2 gas pipeline and Iran.
While the US is trying to form a coalition against Iran in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf, Iran blames the US for rising tensions.
Iran shot down a trespassing US drone last month after it had violated the country’s airspace despite the US claim that the downed drone was flying above international waters.
Iran has stressed that it is the main protector and guarantor of the security in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz and that the security arrangements in the region have to be shaped by the regional countries themselves.