Abe prepares to visit Iran

May 28, 2019 - 19:40

TEHRAN - Japan’s government officials are making final adjustments for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned visit to Iran, NHK reported on Monday.

NHK said the visit will take place next month. 

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi also confirmed on Tuesday that preparations are being made for Abe’s visit. 

During his talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in Tokyo on Monday, Abe reiterated his intention to act as an intermediary between the U.S. and Iran.

At a joint press conference with Trump, Abe said Japan “would like to do whatever it can. Japan and the U.S. should collaborate closely so that tensions surrounding Iran are lessened and do not result in armed conflict.”

Tensions have been rising between Tehran and Washington since the U.S. withdrew from the UN-endorsed nuclear agreement in May last and ordered sanctions on Iran. 

Tensions entered a new stage since April when the U.S. designated the IRGC (part of the Iranian military) as a terrorist organization,  announced that it does no renew the waivers for the eight major buyers of the Iranian oil, and started beefing up its military presence in the region, particularly in the Persian Gulf.

Japan was a major buyer of Iranian oil for decades before the sanctions.

‘We listen to points by friendly states expressed out of goodwill’

Mousavai also said it is natural that different countries be worried about tensions between Iran and the United States.

However, Mousavi said he does not use the world “intermediary” because intermediary entails certain things which does not exist now.

“Now, we are not at the intermediary stage.”

But he said “we listen” to countries which raise the issue of tension between Iran and the United States out of “goodwill”.

“We listen to the points of friendly countries.” 

He added, “Attention should be paid to the root of tensions between Iran and the United States.”
Mousavi said the roots of the problem lie with Washington’s violation of the nuclear agreement and its “economic terrorism” against Iranians.

NHK reported on May 24 that Abe is considering a visit to Iran as early as mid-June.

No Japanese prime minister has visited Iran since 1978.

Abe met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tokyo on May 16.

“Japan is concerned about surging tensions surrounding the Middle East,” Abe said during the visit.

During his trip to Japan, Zarif said Iran was committed to its obligations under the international nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark agreement. He called the reimposition of sanctions “unacceptable”.

On May 8, Iran officially announced that its “strategic patience” has come to an end as the remaining parties to the JCPOA have failed to compensate for the sanctions against Iran by the Trump administration. 

In the first step, Iran announced that it stops selling stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water for 60 days. However, Iran warned if a conclusion is not reached in this time period, it will take other measures step by step and will accelerate its uranium enrichment activities.

Under the JCPOA, Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium is capped at 300kg and heavy water reserve at 130 tons.


Leave a Comment

8 + 10 =