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The EU is set on a collision course with Donald Trump after its EU foreign policy chief called for Europeans to increase their business dealings with Iran in defiance of bellicose statements from the US president.

As Trump vowed to block those trading with Iran from the US market, the EU stepped up efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal by encouraging its companies to ignore the White House.

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, said Brussels would not let the 2015 agreement with Tehran die, and she urged Europeans to make their own investment decisions.

The EU, China and Russia remain signatories to the joint comprehensive plan of action under which economic sanctions on Iran have been lifted in return for the regime curtailing its nuclear aspirations. Trump reneged on the deal in May, describing it as “a horrible one-sided deal that should never, ever have been made”.

The clash risks destabilising the wider transatlantic relationship weeks after the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Trump vowed in the White House rose garden to increase tariff-free trade between the EU and the US and to move on from recent disagreements.

During a trip to Wellington, New Zealand, on Tuesday, Mogherini said: “We are doing our best to keep Iran in the deal, to keep Iran benefiting from the economic benefits that the agreement brings to the people of Iran, because we believe this is in the security interests of not only our region but also of the world.

“If there is one piece of international agreements on nuclear non-proliferation that is delivering, it has to be maintained. We are encouraging small and medium enterprises in particular to increase business with and in Iran as part of something [that] for us is a security priority.”

Hours earlier, Trump had tweeted: “The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”

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