President Trump is afraid to attack Iran

Berlin swerves on Trump's Iran course

The German government is fundamentally very critical of US President Donald Trump's policies, especially when it comes to a question of war and peace. Last year Trump canceled the Iran nuclear deal, which Germany, France and Great Britain had tried very hard to achieve and which they absolutely wanted to keep. When the United States immediately accused Iran of the drone attack on Saudi oil facilities on September 14, the situation seemed dangerously worsening. Even the attacked Saudi Arabia itself did not initially want to commit itself on the question of guilt. Riyadh is now on the Washington line. However, Iran has clearly rejected responsibility for the attack.

The burning refinery after the September 14th drone attack

Ten days later, Germany, along with France and Great Britain, joins the US representation and blames Iran. "It is clear to us that Iran is responsible for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation," said the joint statement by the European trio. Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson do not say what the knowledge is based on. Tehran, on the other hand, sees the European accusation as just as "baseless insinuation" as the American one. Chief of Staff Mohammed al-Bakri predicts defeat anyone who tries to attack his country, adding that his country is not hostile to Saudi Arabia.

Statement "simply wrong"

The foreign policy spokesman for the Green Group in the Bundestag, Omid Nouripour, believes Germany, France and Great Britain's declaration that Iran is responsible for the attacks on Saudi oil plants is a mistake. There is a certain plausibility for the Iranian responsibility in the attacks, said Nouripour in an interview with Deutsche Welle. However, investigations are still ongoing. It is therefore "negligent to make a judgment in advance. That undermines the credibility of the investigations and does not mean that it can now be de-escalated." The joint statement by Chancellor Merkel, French President Macron and Great Britain's Prime Minister Johnson is therefore "simply wrong".

At the same time, the Green politician spoke out in favor of doing everything possible to save the nuclear deal with Iran. This is "the most important obstacle on the way to the nuclearization of the Middle East". Too little has happened here in the last few months: "The federal government has invested too little to save this important agreement." He advised Iran to finally move and sit down at the table with the Americans, Nouripour said. It is known that there is mistrust on both sides. "But it is simply a matter of at least having a red phone so that there is no accidental military escalation. This speechlessness is extremely dangerous."

Will the Bundeswehr soon be in demand?

The three European governments do not stop at blaming Iran. For them it follows that they promise their "unlimited solidarity" to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia seems to be taking up this promise immediately. The Saudi news agency SPA cited a cabinet appeal to the international community. It is about "setting limits" to Iran's aggressive behavior.

The US already has extensive military units in the Persian Gulf

This shows the dangerous position into which Germany has maneuvered itself with its commitment, says Jana Puglierin from the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP) in Berlin. "I think that I am not even aware of what other implications this may have," she said in an interview with Deutsche Welle, "for example, if the Americans start to put even more pressure on Germany and its allies, maybe to get involved in the military ".

First Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer could hear such a request. On her first visit to the USA, she already signaled Germany's readiness for a military engagement in the Strait of Hormuz. The Bundeswehr, however, will not be part of an American-led mission of "maximum pressure," said Kramp-Karrenbauer, taking up Washington's tough line with the expression. Instead, the Bundeswehr will be working on "a European mission". AKK, as the minister is often called, after talks with her US counterpart Mark Esper gave the impression that the US also wants to avoid "providing the other side with an excuse to talk about escalation".

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer: The pressure on Germany is increasing

German conflicting interests

But even if Washington does not demand a clear military commitment from Berlin, Jana Puglierin sees Germany in a difficult position. "It has interests in the region that cannot be reconciled: Maintaining the Iran deal was declared to be Germany's top priority vis-à-vis Iran, and on the other hand, supporting Saudi Arabia as a classic partner one wants to support in order to balance Iran. "

According to Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany sees its task in "maintaining diplomatic contact" with Iran. Such contact could, however, also come about directly between the two main adversaries, the USA and Iran, at the highest level. Despite the tensions, President Trump did not want to rule out a direct encounter with Iran's President Hassan Ruhani at the United Nations. Such a meeting is not firmly planned, said Trump, but: "I never rule anything out." He did not need a mediator, stressed Trump, rejecting an initiative by President Macron. But if the Iranians wanted to talk, "then they know who to call".

US President Donald Trump is still not ruling out a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Ruhani

Even if the US President does not want that, Jana Puglierin sees Germany's role primarily in mediating, together with France and Great Britain, between Iran and the USA: "I think Germany and the EU states are in a very good position Because they are not pursuing this strategy of massive pressure like the United States, but because they are more credible as brokers and can have a balancing effect. "

"Nuclear deal will no longer be enough"

The foreign policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Bijan Djir-Sarai, advocates a correction of the European Iran strategy. There is a "very clear responsibility" of Iran for the attacks on the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, said the FDP politician in an interview with Deutsche Welle. The Europeans must therefore ask themselves whether the chosen strategy is still the right one. "The nuclear agreement as we know it will no longer suffice. We need a supplementary agreement. The European Union must above all speak very clearly about the Iranian missile program, but also about Iran's role in the region."

In the long run, you will not be able to accept that a state in the region is acting so aggressively, said Djir-Sarai. "These are provocations - the international community must jointly have a political answer to this." However, the FDP politician ruled out military intervention. "An escalation would be dangerous for the region and the world." Djir-Sarai, on the other hand, considers a European mission in the Strait of Hormuz to be "extraordinarily correct". "We also have the credibility to make a real contribution to stability in this region."