By staff and agency

Europeans to opt for route of dialogue with Iran

August 3, 2019

Nathalie Tocci, special adviser to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, has said that the Europeans will opt for “dialogue” and “diplomacy” with Iran on the issue of security in the Persian Gulf region.

“So long as [Europeans] see a chance of freedom of navigation being secured through dialogue and diplomacy with Iran, they will opt for this route,” Politico quoted her as saying on Friday.

Her comments came as the U.S. has announced plans to form a Washington-led maritime force to supposedly secure the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, which hosts considerable international oil shipments.

Tocci said, “Clearly, a military operation in the Gulf would increase exponentially the potential triggers for a confrontation with Iran.”

So far Berlin, Madrid and Tokyo have rejected an official request from Washington to participate in a naval coalition in the Persian Gulf.

Spanish newspaper El Confidencial said on Thursday Madrid had received an official request from the United States to participate in these forces. However, the same sources said that “the Spanish government has currently no intention to participate in joint U.S.-led forces,” Middle East Monitor reported.

Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun also reported that Tokyo won’t send ships to join the U.S.-led maritime force.

During a press conference on Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said his country “would not participate in the mission the United States plans to form.”

Tensions in the Persian Gulf have been on the rise in the past several months.

On 4 July, Royal Marines were involved in the seizure of Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar, claiming that the ship was carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. Iran called it an act of “piracy”.

Days later, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps seized British-flagged Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz.

NA/PA

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