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European Union leaders urge Donald Trump to open dialogue with Iran

European Union leaders urge Donald Trump to open dialogue with Iran

"Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: with friends like that, who needs enemies, " Tusk told reporters in English ahead of a summit in Sofia, Bulgaria. If the White House is willing to grant the European Union a special status that leaves it off the targeted entities list, the European Union is then ready to start trade liberalisation talks with the US, Juncker said.

Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said on Thursday the commission has a "duty to protect European companies" from American sanctions.

"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.

"We will begin the "blocking statute" process.We must do it and we will do it tomorrow morning at 10:30", Juncker said at the summit in Sofia.

"If the JCPOA is supposed to continue, it was a good start and it has sent an important political message, but this is not the end of the work", Zarif said on his flight back to Tehran, according to state news agency IRNA.

The European Union's top official launched a stinging attack Wednesday on President Donald Trump, slamming his "capricious assertiveness" and saying the United States leader acted more like an enemy than a friend.

On Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, a move the European Union has warned could spark a trade war, Tusk urged the leaders to keep a unified front.

President Donald Trump joined by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, speaks during an expanded bilateral meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington, Thursday, May 17, 2018.

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 United States or American shareholders, involved with the Iranians.

The leaders had discussed a broad agenda for such discussions: a scoping exercise to eliminate reciprocal tariffs on industrial products, liberalising of government procurement, the "energy relationship" notably of liquified natural gas, voluntary regulatory co-operation on product safety rules and WTO reform.

Tusk made his remarks about the USA president's reliability before he chaired a meeting in Bulgaria of the 28 leaders whose countries make up the world's biggest trading bloc.

With this option, European companies were forbidden to comply with USA sanctions against Iran under threat of punishment.

"We've had a vibrant discussion on Iran".

The EU, which along with Germany, France, Britain, Russia, China and the United States signed the nuclear accord with Iran, does have some steps it can take to shield European business in Iran.

We already have three examples and all of them pertain to Asia - the continent with the most number of volatile regions - and Trump's actions in each of those have flouted all levels of normality in the diplomatic realm and putting universal peace at stake. The US says its sanctions apply to any transactions that are conducted in dollars, which are used in most global transactions, in particular in trading of crude oil.