EU's Donald Tusk takes aim at Donald Trump over Iran, trade tariffs

Posted May 17, 2018

"He made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm".

He added: "Europe must do everything in its power to protect, in spit of today's mood, the transatlantic bond, but at the same time we must be prepared for those scenarios where we have to act on our own".

"They think they can make the Iranian nation surrender by putting pressure on Iran, through sanctions and even threats of war". Some EU leaders have made a direct link between the move and the killing of nearly 60 Palestinians during protests on the Gaza border.

But the reach of the U.S. financial system, the dominance of the dollar and the presence of European companies' operations in the United States all weaken any potential EU measures.

The head of the European Council Donald Tusk on Twitter said that the recent decisions of the US President Donald trump has helped the EU to get rid of all illusions.

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Trump's moving of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this week has also upset many in the European Union, though the European Union has failed to condemn the move squarely over opposition from the Czech Republic and Hungary that hold a strongly pro-Israeli stance.

'This means a permanent exemption from United States tariffs on aluminium and steel if we are to discuss possible trade liberalisation with the US.

Should the exemptions be dropped, the European Union stands ready to deepen trans-Atlantic energy co-operation, notably on liquefied natural gas, improve reciprocal market access for industrial products and work together to reform the rules of the World Trade Organization.

The European leaders said they would be ready to also work with the USA to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) - a nod to address concerns over Chinese trade practices and over a more technical issue with the WTO's Appellate Body. "We did discuss the possibility of applying our blocking statute".

It was clear, Mr Tusk suggested, that Washington could no longer be relied upon.

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They backed plans to offer concessions if the U.S. gives Europe a permanent exemption from the tariffs, but added that the "EU will not negotiate with a gun at its head".

British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will "present their assessment of the situation" to their colleagues, he said.

"If the JCPOA is supposed to continue, it was a good start and it has sent an important political message, but this is not the end of the work", Zarif said on his flight back to Tehran, according to state news agency IRNA. Trump says the tariffs are needed for national security reasons.

Total said it would wind down operations linked to the South Pars gas venture before November 4 unless it were granted a specific project waiver by the USA authorities, with the support of the French and European authorities.

After Wednesday's dinner, some considered that the openings made by the leaders on trade risked to be seen as a weakness that would "show that Trump's irrationality pays off", the diplomat noted.

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