EU's Donald Tusk takes aim at Donald Trump over Iran, steel sanctions

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European Union chief Donald Tusk hit out at US President Donald Trump today, accusing Washington of "capricious assertiveness" in abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and imposing trade tariffs on Europe.

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

With Trump's cabinet being increasingly populated by the likes of National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who have long pushed for regime change in Iran, the USA position is becoming more at odds with those of Europe, Russia, and China.

Tusk spoke about the Iran nuclear deal in further detail while also outlining a few other issues he had with the current leader of the United States in his prepared remarks.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also remarked last week that the European Union should replace the United States as a global leader after the latter "as an worldwide actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence".

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 US withdrawal.

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

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EU President Donald Tusk said the leaders in Sofia would "reflect on recent global developments, in particular following President Trump's announcements on Iran and trade as well as the latest, dramatic events in Gaza".

The EU's top energy and climate official, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, is 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 US withdrawal.

Members of the European Council will discuss ways they might be able to salvage the Iran nuclear deal now that President Trump has opted to back out of the agreement during their summit in Bulgaria this week.

Even by the stressed standards of relations between Europe and the United States in the Trump era, European Council President Donald Tusk's Wednesday criticisms were unusually cutting. And my objective is simple: we stick to our guns, ' stated Tusk. "That means permanent exemptions from US tariffs on aluminium and steel".

"The EU and United States are friends and partners, therefore U.S. tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", he said.

The EU and the United States have traditionally been the closest of allies, working together also via North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.