European Union leaders explore ways to save Iran economic ties from United States sanctions

Postado Mai 16, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk lashed out at the USA president, blasting his decision to pull out from the Iranian nuclear deal and stirring up trade disputes with other countries, and lamenting that one does not need enemies with friends like Trump.

On Trump's decision to impose tariffs on European and Chinese steel and aluminium, a move the EU has warned could spark a trade war, Tusk urged the leaders to keep a unified front.

Mr. Tusk called on the European leaders of the countries that signed the agreement - like Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, Ms. Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France, who tried but failed to talk Mr. Trump into not scrapping the deal - to reconfirm their commitment to the accord.

"But, frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful by President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of old illusions. He made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm".

Mr Tusk said the United States appeared to be hesitating in hitting European companies doing business in Iran with sanctions, but the bloc still needed to be ready to protect its interests.

"I would like our debate to reconfirm without any doubt that as long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the European Union will also respect it", Tusk said in a letter to the leaders.

European ministers met with a top Iranian official in Brussels on Tuesday in a bid to save the Iranian nuclear accord after Trump chose to pull out.

Tusk's remarks, just hours before he was to chair a meeting in Bulgaria of the 28 leaders of the world's biggest trading bloc, underscored the widening gulf in EU-U.S. relations.

Trade tensions have been growing since March 23, when Donald Trump ordered to introduce a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tax on aluminum, claiming to protect the U.S. producers from unfair competition and boost national security. "The deal is good for European and global security", said Tusk.

This move sparked discontent among the key U.S. trading partners, especially the EU. Trump says the tariffs are needed for national security reasons.

Tusk's comments came ahead of a gathering of heads-of-state of the European Union in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Wednesday. "We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today".

Trump's decision to relocate the US embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem will also be raised. And Mr. Trump's decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the United States Embassy to the holy city were made despite European opposition.