Wed, 24 Apr 2019

Austria Urges Europe Not to Dance to Trump's Tune

Iran Front Page
19 Mar 2019, 23:13 GMT+10

Austrian head of state Alexander Van der Bellen, whom some view as the conscience of Austria, has voiced his objection to the US presidents recent moves on the international arena, despite Viennas long-cherished neutrality.

Van der Bellen has urged Europe toact independently ofthe US and its incumbent president inan interview withthe German newspaper Welt.

When asked about the headache that the US president gives the EU, the Austrian politician lashed outat Donald Trump forhis withdrawal fromthe 2015 Iran nucleardealand putting pressure onEuropean businesses.

US President Trump has pulled outfrom Iran's nuclear deal, which Washington had negotiated and co-ordinated foryears, withno reason and subsequently banned European companies fromdoing business withIran, threatening withgrave sanctions. I think that this goes too far. The Europeans do not have todance when Trump whistles. This also applies toother points ofdiscord, Van der Bellen said, a report by Sputnik said.

At the same time, he said the ability todecide and act was the biggest challenge forthe EU, pointing outthat it often takes too long forit toagree onimportant issues. He was also alarmed atthe implementation ofa decision voted forby the majority ofmember states.

I was alarmed when a majority vote had been taken toagree onthe distribution ofasylum seekers, and some heads ofstates said: we do not care, the politician stated.

According tothe Joint Comprehensive Plan ofAction (JCPOA) agreement, Iran is required tonot engage inthe development ofnuclear technologies formilitary use, withthe deal's other signatories, including the United States, promising tolift sanctions inexchange.

It was signed in2015 afteryears ofconsultation, butin May 2018, President Trump unilaterally withdrew the US fromthe JCPOA, prompting other parties, including Russia, China and European signatories, toscramble totry tosave it. These efforts have focused onmeasures tobypass stringent US sanctions, aswell asAmerican threats tobring Iranian oil exports down "to zero".

Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel received a standing ovation for her speech at the Munich Security Conference for statements echoing Van der Bellens sentiment. She condemned the unilateral moves made by the US, namely, the withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, as well as criticized Washington's stance toward the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

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