European Council President Donald Tusk on May 16 hit out at Donald Trump saying he has “rid Europe of all illusions” with his withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal and trade disputes.
“Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think that with friends like that, who needs enemies?” Tusk told a news conference in Sofia following a summit of EU leaders in the Bulgarian capital. “But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful for President Trump because thanks to him, we have got rid of all illusions.”
He added: “He has made us realise that, if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.”
Tusk said EU must be united to face “a new phenomenon—the capricious assertiveness of the American administration”.
Although Trump has pulled the US out of the nuclear deal, the other signatories of the multilateral accord—France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China, along with Iran—are searching for practical ways to salvage it. However, this will prove a formidable task given that in three to six months time foreign companies that continue to do business with Iran will be exposed to US sanctions. Tempers may fray if the US gives no quarter as Europe pushes for waivers to shield its companies from the penalties.
The heat is on—May 16 alone saw French energy major Total announce it would not continue with its multi-billion-dollar Iran investment if no waiver was forthcoming, while German insurer Allianz and Danish oil product tanker operator Maersk Tankers said they were winding down their businesses in Iran. Meanwhile, Joe Kaeser, the CEO of Germany’s Siemens, told CNN his company would not be able to do any new business with Tehran.
In further remarks on the latest situation with the nuclear deal, ISNA reported Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as saying on May 16 that Trump had expected Tehran to walk out on the accord after the US withdrawal.
Tehran had refused to follow that plan and was instead trying to save the deal with its remaining signatories, he reportedly said, adding: “Trump played his first card, but miscalculated the second move... as Iran did not follow that plan.”
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