Donald Trump is back at war with the European Union, tweeting Tuesday that “anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.” The warning came hours after EU lawmakers signaled their intent to defy the U.S. sanctions against Tehran that came into effect at midnight.
“I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Trump added.
Even harsher sanctions related to oil exports are scheduled to hit Iran later this year. “These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level,” Trump tweeted.
Earlier, Hassan Rouhani condemned the measures as “psychological warfare” designed to “sow division among Iranians.” The Iranian president also said he would be willing to meet Trump for talks without preconditions “right now” — an offer national security adviser John Bolton quickly dismissed as “propaganda.”
Yet Trump’s early morning tweet was directed at Brussels, not Tehran — a response to a statement published Monday by the foreign ministers of all 28 EU members, which said there was a “determination to protect” the bloc’s economic interests and ignore the U.S. sanctions.
The measures were imposed after the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — earlier this year.
The other signatories, including Europe, China and Russia, continue to support the deal.
Trump appears to believe only economic sanctions will force Iran to change its behavior. He warned Tehran Monday that it must “either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy or continue down a path of economic isolation.”
Trump said he remains open to a more comprehensive deal “that addresses the full range of the regime's malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism.”
Just last month, Trump and the EU narrowly avoided a trade war, agreeing to hold talks on increasing trade between the two regions. But Trump’s Iran sanctions could reopen that simmering feud.
“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN security council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union’s updated blocking statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of U.S. extraterritorial sanctions,” the EU’s foreign ministers said Monday:
As well as initiating the blocking statute to allow EU businesses to continue to work with Iranian companies, the EU has opened a mechanism to allow EU companies to sue the U.S. administration in the national courts of member states.
Despite the sanctions, European firms have been told not to comply with demands from the White House for them to drop all business with Iran.
Cover image: Donald Trump gesticulates as he speaks during a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images)