EU TO Defend Firms Against US Iran Sanctions - Macron

Growing tensions over President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal is threatening to put unprecedented strain on the post-war transatlantic alliance.

Signed in 2015 between Iran and a group of world powers - China, the US, Russia, France, the UK, Germany and the European Union - the deal ended decades of economic sanctions and led to heavy investment flowing into Iran.

Macron spoke as the Commission, which negotiates trade matters on behalf of the bloc, published a law preparing retaliation.

Tillerson did not mention the president by name but alluded to policies of the Trump administration by decrying those who neglect or ignore long-standing allies or deny that free trade is an engine of global growth.

EU President Donald Tusk renewed attacks on him. Although Iranian oil exports have recovered from Western sanctions that preceded the deal to restrict its nuclear development, exports from Venezuela have plummeted. We are calling all the parties for negotiations on an extended version of the agreement. The 2015 nuclear agreement is a crucial element of peace and security in the region.

The EU has discussed instituting a so-called blocking statute, which would shield European companies doing business with Iran. "We have pledged to take necessary political steps for our companies to stay in Iran".

With Trump's decision to rip up the deal, the United States has turned itself into a destroyer of the global order. "I don't know the timing details exactly, but I am certain that we're also going to shut down (in Iran)", he told Reuters.

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.

"Trump despises weaklings", EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio.

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