By staff and agency

Rouhani, Abe to meet in New York

September 17, 2019

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday he would meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York in the current month.

It was during a meeting with members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that Abe repeated his intention of speaking with Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, according to NHK.

Abe has said that the chief motive behind his efforts to meet with Iranian leaders is to deescalate tension in the Persian Gulf region.

Since abandoning the international nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will apply economic and military pressure against Iran.

The United States has sent aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers, F-22 stealth fighters, and troops to the region to counter what it calls Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the Middle East. 

On August 30, Abe said that he plans to do everything he can to ease tension in the Middle East region and wants to talk with Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

“Peace and stability in the Middle East directly links to Japan’s national interest,” Reuters quoted Abe as saying in a news conference at the end of a three-day international conference on African development.

“I would like to work tenaciously, and play the best possible role to ease tensions in the Middle East,” he said.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Abe met in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on August 28.

According to Reuters, Zarif said that Iran is not seeking to increase tension but every country should be able to enjoy its rights under international law.

“As our president has said, we are not at all seeking heightened tensions,” Zarif said, speaking through a translator.

He said, “We believe every country should be able to enjoy its rights under international law.”

According to The Mainichi, Zarif said, “Iran welcomes the Japanese government’s role (in trying) to ease tensions in the Middle East.”

Abe said, “Japan will persistently continue our diplomatic efforts to deal with rising tensions in the Middle East and stabilize the current situation.”

Pointing to his meeting with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in June, Abe said that Ayatollah Khamenei promised that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons.

Abe visited Tehran on June 12 for a two-day visit.

During a meeting with Abe on June 13, Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump as a person not worthy of exchanging messages with. 

Abe visited Iran after a meeting with President Trump in Tokyo. He said he was carrying a message from Trump for dialogue with Iran.

However, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran has “no trust” in the U.S. and will not at all “repeat the bitter experience” it gained from the negotiations that led to the conclusion of the  nuclear deal (officially called the JCPOA), which Washington later ditched.

During a joint press conference with Rouhani on June 12, Abe said he will use his country’s “utmost effort” to deescalate tension in the Persian Gulf and the wider Middle East region.

“Japan will use its utmost effort to reduce tension in the region,” he said.

Abe said, “Increase in tensions in the region must be contained at any price, and Japan can play a quite constructive role in this regard.”

“Peace and stability of the Middle East region is essential not only for the prosperity of this region, but also for the prosperity of the entire world,” Abe noted.

NA/PA

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