European Sources to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Don’t Want to be Dragged Into Military Conflict Between US, Iran

Sunday, 16 June, 2019 - 12:30
Paris - Asharq Al-Awsat

European countries are concerned about the rapid developments in the Gulf and are apprehensive about the course these developments have taken on the region’s security and European interests. These countries are afraid to be dragged into a military conflict between the United States and Iran, diplomatic sources in Paris told Asharq Al-Awsat.

They said for this reason these countries have given a “cold reaction” over the video released by the US Department of Defense, which is seen as proof of Iran’s responsibility in targeting the Norwegian and Japanese tankers on Thursday morning in the Gulf of Oman.

Sources added that even Britain has approved the US reading of what had happened, yet its Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt didn’t hesitate to announce that his country’s government wants to independently inspect what happened.

While the most negative reaction, according to the European reading, came from German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who visited Tehran last week in an effort to reduce tension in the Gulf.

He said the US video was “insufficient to criminalize Iran.”

However, the European side considers that US President Donald Trump and US foreign and defense secretaries rush in drawing conclusions and hold parties accountable for what happens.

Europeans consider that the American side is not stable in its approach to the Iranian case.

They put in mind Trump’s decision not to consult anyone when deciding to leave the nuclear deal last spring and imposing severe economic, trade and financial sanctions on Iran.

US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, however, and despite the US “determination” to hold Iran responsible for the attack on the two tankers, wants an “international consensus” before responding to the aggressor.

“We are facing an international problem in the Middle East, and it is not an American problem,” Shanahan said on Friday.

“The focus for myself, Ambassador (John) Bolton and Secretary (Mike) Pompeo is to build international consensus to this international problem," he added, referring respectively to the national security adviser and the secretary of state.

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