EU chief lashes out at Trump over Iran nuclear deal
SOFIA, Bulgaria — A top European Union official branded US President Donald Trump selfish and capricious on Wednesday as EU leaders met to count the likely economic damage US policies might inflict on the bloc and to try to rescue the Iran nuclear deal.
In a striking rhetorical assault on the leader of Europe’s biggest ally, EU Council President Donald Tusk said, given Trump’s recent decisions, “someone could even think ‘with friends like that, who needs enemies?’”
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. Trump has also broken with a key international principle of Middle East peace efforts by moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Tusk’s remarks, made before he chaired a meeting in Bulgaria of the 28 leaders whose countries make up the world’s biggest trading bloc, underscored the widening gulf in EU-United States relations.
“Frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm,” Tusk said.
At dinner talks in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, EU leaders were briefed on possible incentives to keep Teheran in the nuclear agreement despite a key player like the US pulling out.
Trump’s decision means that US sanctions, held in check by a presidential veto until now, could soon hit Iran and European companies doing business there.
The options being considered include new credit lines for Iran, increased energy cooperation and the use of EU laws to block European companies from caving in to US sanctions.
Trump’s decision to relocate the US embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem will also be raised. Some EU leaders have made a direct link between the move and the killing of almost 60 Palestinians during protests on the Gaza border.
European Council president
Calls for probe
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is calling for an international investigation.
“It’s a moment that sends a shiver down your spine. Because there is a striking contrast between, on the one hand, an inauguration in great splendor, with smiles, and on the other hand, the drama, and families today that are in mourning with innocent children who are the victims of this situation,” Michel told state broadcaster RTBF.
On Thursday, Israel said it launched an overnight air raid on a Hamas facility in Gaza after gunfire from the territory targeted its soldiers and damaged a building.
One day earlier, the Palestine Liberation Organization slammed Guatemala for moving its embassy to Jerusalem, saying it undermines the twostate solution principle.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales attended the embassy inauguration and met with the Israeli president and prime minister separately.