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

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European Council President Donald Tusk lashed out at the United States president, blasting his decision to pull out from the Iranian nuclear deal and stirring up trade disputes with other countries, and lamenting that one does not need enemies with friends like Trump.

"Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies".

The senior official said that European Union should be grateful to Trump as he helped the bloc get rid of its 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. "We should also get an update from High Representative Mogherini, while President Juncker will share his thoughts on how the interests of the European companies engaged in economic cooperation with Iran can be best preserved", Tusk said in his letter to the 28 members of the bloc, as well as six aspiring EU nations, ahead of the Sofia Summit.

The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions over dinner on Wednesday on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions and how to avoid a trade war in an escalating tariff dispute with the United States. Tensions came to a head with the US 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. Tusk, who is a former Polish prime minister, said in a statement to reporters. And he said that the EU would work to develop ways to shield European companies that continue to do business with Iran from any sanctions or other penalties imposed by Washington.

Trump has also hit European Union members this year by imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. In order to be the subject and not the object of global politics, Europe must be united economically, politically and also militarily like never before. "Europe must do everything in its power to protect, in spite of today's mood, the Trans-Atlantic bond", he said. "But at the same time we must be prepared for scenarios where we'll have to act on our own".

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European leaders will gather in Sofia to mainly discuss the EU's commitment towards enlargement talks focused around Western Balkan regions, but the US President's actions have seemingly hijacked the agenda.

Tusk also mentioned looking into ways to protect European companies from "negative consequences of the USA decision". Trump says the tariffs are needed for national security reasons.

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.

"We knew that there was a great risk, that this decision to move moving the embassy would bring less security, bring tragedies, and sadly we were right", he said.