Leaders from several European Union countries said Thursday they're ready to negotiate with Washington on opening up their markets to more us exports in exchange for a blanket exemption on industrial tariffs. They appear to be working in concert-the USA wants to exert pressure on Iran through sanctions and Israel through military attack on Iranian interests in Syria.
UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson cast doubt on the EU's ability to prevent the re-imposition of USA sanctions that also seek to punish foreign companies for doing business with Iran. On Wednesday, the French oil giant Total said it would have to divest from Iran unless it received an exemption from the American sanctions. "I want to stress that the Chinese government is opposed to the imposition of unilateral sanctions and the so-called long-arm jurisdiction by any country in accordance with its domestic laws", he said. Tehran had repeatedly hailed the project as a symbol of the nuclear accord's success. In the meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he hoped Iran would stay in the agreement.
"The real geopolitical problem is when you have - not an unpredictable opponent or enemy - the problem is if your closest friend is unpredictable", Tusk said.
"It's a bad sign".
On Thursday night Tusk said the European Union was willing to enter discussions with the U.S. on trade liberalisation, but "only if the United States decides on unlimited exemptions for the European Union from steel and aluminium tariffs".
They also opened the door for discussions on energy relationship with the United States, in particular about liquefied natural gas (LNG), which the U.S. is keen on selling in Europe.
European Union leaders united behind the 2015 accord, and Brussels announced it would launch a legal process banning EU-based firms from complying with the sanctions that President Donald Trump has reimposed on Iran.
Options include allowing the European Investment Bank to invest there and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from EU states.
European ministers met with a top Iranian official in Brussels on Tuesday in a bid to save the Iranian nuclear accord after Trump chose to pull out.
However, many views expressed at the summit indicated that while the re-adoption of the regulation may help smaller and medium sized European businesses trading with or investing in Iran, it may not be enough to keep big European companies, and especially those with assets in the USA or American shareholders, involved with the Iranians.
Trump and his administration need to display less recklessness before the summit actually takes place and focus on confidence-building measures towards that all-important summit.