Conflict around Strait of Hormuz: Iran encourages tanker exchange


ZIn order to resolve the tanker strike with Great Britain, Iranian President Hassan Rohani has proposed an exchange of oil tankers for both countries. “We do not want tensions,” said Rohani at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Iran is not stubborn and does not want to conflict with the British and Europeans in the Persian Gulf. If the British also abided by the rules in Gibraltar, they would receive an appropriate response.

On his website, he wrote: “As long as I hold the responsibility for the country's executive branch, we are fully prepared to conduct fair, legal and honest negotiations.” He also wrote that Iran will not only secure the Strait of Hormuz off its coast, but also the strait Bab al-Mandeb on the Red Sea. Iran has been the protector of the Bab al-Mandeb so far and will remain so.

On July 4, a supertanker with oil from Iran had been stopped in Gibraltar. The British argue that the tanker has oil for Syria on board, which violates EU sanctions. On July 19, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had fixed the British-flagged tanker “StenaImpero”. The reason given was that the ship had not complied with international maritime rules, switched off its GPS system and had environmentally harmful materials on board.

Low reaction to Hunt's push

The shipping company of the “Stena Impero” announced on Wednesday, she had the Tuesday evening for the first time to talk to the crew. The captain said that the crew was safe and that they cooperated well with the Iranians who had boarded.

In the face of escalation, the British Foreign Minister had Jeremy Hunt suggested a European military operation to protect the merchant ships in the Strait of Hormuz. The reactions to it were restrained. The Federal Government emphasized the priority of diplomatic efforts and stated that it participated in the talks. But it was “too early to talk about possible forms of German support or participation”.

“With France and the UK we are making a policy of de-escalation,” said the Foreign Office. “We agree that we (…) do not participate in the US policy of maximum pressure.” The spokesman pointed out that British and French traditionally had a naval presence in the Persian Gulf.

Green Party leader Katrin Goering-Eckardt said in the Bundestag: “The restraint is very correct.” But she also stressed the need to find a common response from the Europeans. FDP leader Christian Lindner called it right in the Bundestag to take on the Iran issue, together with France and Britain a mediator role. However, Germany should not abandon solidarity in securing the sea routes.

The German shipowners called the British initiative “comprehensible”, but called for the exhaustion of all diplomatic means to ensure the safety of the passage. Ralf Nagel from the Presidium of the Association of German Shipowners pointed out that the maneuvering space in the straits was “extremely limited” for commercial and military ships. “That increases the danger of escalation.”

Rohani also announced on Wednesday Iran's readiness to participate in political negotiations to resolve the dispute over the US-terminated nuclear deal. But this excludes any negotiation of Iran's surrender or deviation from its principles and rights. Rohani said he was willing to speak with US President Donald Trump.

(tagToTranslate) Hassan Rohani (t) Jeremy Hunt (t) Donald Trump (t) Bundestag (t) European Union (t) Federal Government (t) Tanker Exchange


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