European Union leaders agree 'united approach' on Iran deal, trade

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On Wednesday evening in Sofia, EU leaders spent several hours over dinner discussing how to protect the EU's interests, after two recent decisions by United States president Donald Trump: scrapping a nuclear deal with Iran and potentially sanction European companies doing business there and threatening to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium from 1 June.

Trump has bewildered the Europeans by threatening to slap tariffs on EU steel and aluminium exports and reneging on an agreement to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, which the EU believes is vital to world security.

"Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies". "But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions".

The EU's top energy official, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, is meanwhile heading to Iran on May 18-21 for talks on energy cooperation, a symbolic gesture from the EU that it wants to stay engaged despite the USA withdrawal.

The European Union's top official launched a stinging attack Wednesday on President Donald Trump, slamming his "capricious assertiveness" and saying the United States leader acted more like an enemy than a friend.

Tusk even compared the USA administration to Europe's traditional foes Moscow and Beijing as he launched his broadside hours before a dinner of the 28 leaders in Sofia where they will discuss the issue. "Following last week's announcement of the United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, we need a united European front", he wrote.

British, French and German foreign ministers, along with the EU's top diplomat, vowed to try to keep Iran's oil and investment flowing after a meeting with their Iranian counterpart on Tuesday, but admitted they would struggle to provide the guarantees Tehran seeks. This is the only real alternative. Tusk called for more unity in the divided European Union - which is set to lose Britain as a member next year - to face the growing challenges.

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'I want leaders to reconfirm that the European Union sticks to the deal as long as Iran does.

"There is no possibility to have a vision of the EU-US relationship as long as Trump is here", he told this website.

The summit comes after Iran gave the European Union "between 45 and 60 days to give the necessary guarantees to safeguard Iranian interests and compensate the damages caused by the USA pullout".

"Here again, unity is our greatest strength and my objective is simple - we stick to our guns", Tusk told a news conference.

After listing more of their proposals, Nigel finished: "So the whole European project is crumbling, the third biggest country in the eurozone is in open revolt against the whole system and all Donald Tusk can do is say a few sad words about Donald Trump".

The EU view is that the first step would be an assessment of what both parties wish to negotiate, and then it would need EU members to approve a mandate.

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