In an interview with the German newspaper Welt, Van der Bellen said Trump’s moves have gone “too far”, urging the Europeans not to dance to Trump’s tune.
When asked about “the headache” that the US president gives the EU, the Austrian politician, who was called the “conscience of Austria” by the interviewer, lashed out at Trump for leaving the 2015 nuclear deal and putting pressure on European businesses.
“US President Trump has pulled out from Iran's nuclear deal, which Washington had negotiated and coordinated for years, with no reason and subsequently banned European companies from doing business with Iran, threatening with grave sanctions. I think that this goes too far. The Europeans do not have to dance when Trump whistles. This also applies to other points of discord”, Van der Bellen said.
Under to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran curbed its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international and US sanctions.
It was signed in 2015 after years of consultation, but in May 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA, prompting other parties, including Russia, China and European signatories, to scramble to try to save it. These efforts have focused on measures to bypass stringent US sanctions, as well as American threats to bring 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 Bellen’s sentiment. She condemned the unilateral moves made by the US, namely the withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran.
Sputnik contributed to this story.