'With friends like that who needs enemies': Tusk lashes out at Trump

'With friends like that who needs enemies': Tusk lashes out at Trump

European leaders said in this article, concerned about the rhetoric trump, his "capricious insistence", and the contradictory statements of the American leader.

"But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions".

"I would like our debate to reconfirm without any doubt that as long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the European Union will also respect it", Tusk said in a letter to the leaders.

The transatlantic rift has hijacked the agenda of a summit on Thursday at which the European Union leaders will meet their Balkan counterparts in a bid to foster closer ties and keep Russian Federation out of their backyard.

Tusk went on to say the Iran deal remains "good for European and global security, which is why we must maintain it - despite the USA hesitation".

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

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Earlier on Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini briefed top officials at the European Commission on talks she had held the previous evening with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his German, French and British counterparts. "This is the only real alternative". Tensions came to a head with the USA president's decision announced last week to pull out of the landmark Iran nuclear accord which the remaining signatories-Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, along with the EU-say is working and they will strive to keep in place.

He called on EU leaders "to reconfirm that the EU sticks to the deal as long as Iran does", underlining that "the deal is good for European and global security". "The EU and U.S. are friends and partners, therefore USA tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", he said.

In dinner talks in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, EU leaders will be briefed on possible incentives to keep Tehran in the nuclear agreement, even after a key player like the US pulled out.

The French energy giant Total said Wednesday that it will cease operations in Iran by November in order to avoid USA sanctions, while the Danish shipping firm Maersk and German insurer Alianz also have signaled their intentions of pulling out of Iran unless the companies secure tariff exemptions from Washington.

Behind their message of unity and firmness, some member states seem open to tolerating limited quotas from the United States on metals imports while others want a harder line, diplomats said. The aim is to counter Trump's reimposition of sanctions on Iran.

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