Clashing With Trump, EU Tries to Blunt US Sanctions on Iran

18 May, 2018, 12:47 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Donald Tusk the European Union’s top official

"I don't think Donald Trump wants war", the French President said.

At the outset of a summit of European leaders whose agenda items, point by point, have to do with the flames of crises that many Europeans see as ignited by President Trump, Tusk ripped into what he called "the capricious assertiveness of the American administration" over issues including Iran, Gaza, trade tariffs, and North Korea.

Signed in 2015 between Iran and a group of world powers - China, the US, Russia, France, the UK, Germany and the European Union - the deal ended decades of economic sanctions and led to heavy investment flowing into Iran.

Hu Weijia - EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini is scheduled to meet with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday to discuss the Iran nuclear deal. "He has made us realise that if you need a helping hand you will find one at the end of your arm".

Still, Europe should do "everything in its power" to protect the transatlantic bond, Tusk added.

European Union leaders presented a determined front to stand up to President Donald Trump's threats to penalise EU businesses and scupper the Iran nuclear deal.

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New US sanctions would be a significant blow for European companies that actively went to the Iranian market after 2015. They include retaliatory sanctions and allowing the European Investment Bank to invest directly in Iran.

The EU leaders discussed Iran at a meeting in Bulgaria, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said, adding the bloc would start measures on Friday to ease the effect of the U.S. sanctions on European companies. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst The strain now being placed on the historic relationship between the western European states and the U.S was highlighted by the former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson who was USA secretary of state before being fired over Twitter by President Trump.

"The EU blocking regulation could be of limited effectiveness there, given the global nature of banking system and especially the exposure of large systemic banks to USA financial system and U.S. dollar transactions", financial services commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told the European Parliament. "This means a permanent exemption from USA tariffs on aluminium and steel if we are to discuss possible trade liberalisation with the U.S".

"We knew that there was a great risk, that this decision to move moving the embassy would bring less security, bring tragedies, and sadly we were right", he said.

According to AP, President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to diffuse the threat of a trade war against the USA, despite Paris' disapproval of President Trump's decision to scrap the nuclear deal.

Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said on Thursday the commission has a "duty to protect European companies" from American sanctions. Some EU leaders have made a direct link between the move and the killing of nearly 60 Palestinians during protests on the Gaza border.

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