BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday he was very sceptical about a request by the United States to join a military mission for the Strait of Hormuz.
The United States has proposed stepping up efforts to safeguard the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, at a time of heightened tension between it and Iran. About a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the strait.
The United States had formally asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure the strait and to “combat Iranian aggression”, the U.S. embassy in Berlin said on Tuesday.
“I’m very sceptical about that, and I think that’s a scepticism that many others share,” Scholz told ZDF television.
Scholz said it was important to avoid a military escalation in the region and that such a mission carried the risk of being dragged into an even bigger conflict.
“That’s why I think this is not a good idea,” he said.
There is considerable opposition among Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, to getting involved in a U.S-led mission.
Asked whether the coalition parties shared the same view on the U.S. request, Scholz said: “Yes, that’s my impression.”
He said that Berlin still viewed the international nuclear agreement with Iran as the best option to prevent it developing a nuclear bomb.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Thomas Seythal, Robert Birsel)