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German FM rules out joining US-led Hormuz mission

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Germany will not participate in a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz as it wants to ease tensions with Iranian regime, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday.

The United States had asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure shipping through the strait, through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes, and to "combat Iranian regime's aggression", the US Embassy in Berlin said on Tuesday.

"Germany will not take part in the sea mission presented and planned by the United States," said Maas, adding the situation in the region was very serious and everything should be done to avoid an escalation. "There is no military solution."

The security of shipping in the Gulf has shot up the international agenda since May, when Washington accused Iran of attacking ships there, which Iran denied. 

In July, Iranian regime seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in apparent retaliation for Britain's seizure of an Iranian ship accused of violating sanctions by taking oil to Syria.

Washington's European allies disagreed with President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of a nuclear deal with the Iranian regime last year and impose sanctions. They have been hesitant to back a US-led mission that might increase tension in the region.

Britain called last week for a European-led naval initiative, but the United States has continued to press for a mission that would include its own forces, which are far more powerful than those of European allies.

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