Zarif hails ‘friendly’ Rouhani-Abe summit

December 20, 2019 - 18:34

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has hailed the “substantive, friendly and frank” summit between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying the meeting aimed to strengthen ties between the two countries.

“Substantive, friendly and frank summit between President @HassanRouhani and Prime Minister @AbeShizo: further strengthening bilateral, regional and global cooperation,” Zarif tweeted on Friday.

“Also grateful to our Japanese hosts for celebrating the winter solstice with us. #Yalda,” he added.

President Rouhani has paid a landmark visit to Japan, calling on the country to help confront the United States’ bid to wreck the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, according to Press TV.

When he landed in Tokyo, Rouhani became the first Iranian president to visit Japan since 2000.

The Iranian president inspected a guard of honor along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the latter’s central Tokyo office before summit talks and a dinner scheduled to last into Friday evening.

Despite being a military ally of the U.S., Japan has traditionally maintained friendly relations with Iran as a major source of energy. In 2017, Iran supplied 5.2 percent of Japan’s crude oil imports.

Iran's oil exports, however, have been disrupted by unilateral American sanctions on the Islamic Republic. 

Japan also relies on the Middle East for nearly 90% of its oil needs, but tensions have risen to new highs amid U.S. deployment of new troops and military assets to the Persian Gulf. 

Tensions have escalated since President Donald Trump’s decision last year to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the international nuclear agreement with Iran is officially called.  

“The nuclear deal is an extremely important agreement, and we strongly condemn the U.S. withdrawal, which was one-sided and irrational,” Rouhani said in the meeting with Abe on Friday.

“We hope that Japan and other countries in the world will make efforts toward maintaining the agreement,” the Iranian president added. 

MH/PA

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