Japan FM due in Tehran on Sunday 

August 21, 2021 - 21:44

TEHRAN - Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will pay a visit to Iran on Sunday and is expected to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iranian President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi.

After arriving in Tehran on Saturday, Motegi is expected to hold talks with Ayatollah Raisi and Foreign Minister Zarif on Sunday, The Japan Times reported. It added that the top Japanese diplomat is also planning to meet with Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a former Iranian deputy foreign minister who is set to succeed Zarif under the Raisi administration.

Citing diplomatic sources, the Japanese newspaper claimed that there are calls within the Iranian government to ask Japan to mediate and push the United States to ease its sanctions on Iran.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh had announced that the Japanese foreign minister will pay a two-day visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran at the invitation of Zarif. 

“This trip, which is of great importance on the eve of the formation of the 13th government, is in response to Dr. Zarif's visit to Tokyo in 2019,” Khatibzadeh said. 

The spokesman underlined, “Iran-Japan relations have always been important as two important powers in West and East Asia, and the two countries have enjoyed friendly relations based on common interests during 90 years of diplomatic relations, and now consultations are underway on bilateral and multilateral issues, and are at the highest level between the two countries.”

Khatibzadeh confirmed that in addition to Zarif, Motegi will meet other high-ranking Iranian officials.

Earlier, the Iranian embassy in Japan had said that the Japanese foreign minister’s visit to Tehran in the near future, on the eve of the formation of a new government, could open a new chapter for deepening bilateral relations, and close consultations between the two countries on important regional and international issues.

Ahead of his visit, Motegi wrote an opinion piece for Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, explaining the importance of the visit. “Close communication between the two governments is also necessary to strengthen bilateral relations. To this end, I decided to travel to Iran to exchange views at the earliest opportunity with the government of Mr. Raisi, who has recently taken office,” he wrote.

“This is the first time in about two years that the Japanese foreign minister is visiting Iran, and in addition, he will be the first high-ranking foreign official from a developed Asian country to hold face-to-face talks with the new Iranian government. I look forward to having frank consultation to deepen the long-standing friendly relations between the two countries,” Motegi added.

The Japanese foreign minister noted, “In late July, Japan donated a total of about 2.9 million doses of Japanese-made vaccine to Iran as part of its support to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. I personally supported this decision due to the long-standing friendly relations between Japan and Iran. This is the largest donation of vaccine by Japan abroad and the fastest vaccine donation under COVAX. If this support helps strengthen the relations and cooperation between Japan and Iran, it will make me happy.”

“For Japan, which imports about 90 percent of its crude oil from the Middle East [West Asia], peace and stability in the Middle East are crucial. Stable oil supplies from the Middle East are also essential for the stability and growth of the global economy, including Japan. There is no doubt that in this regard, Iran's role as a major country in the Middle East is very important,” he continued. 

Motegi concluded, “Having long-standing friendly relations with Iran, Japan will continue its diplomatic and active efforts to defuse and stabilize the situation in the Middle East, as well as to strengthen bilateral relations between Japan and Iran.”

He had reiterated this position in an earlier interview with the Saudi daily newspaper, Asharq Al Awsat, underlining that he would conduct frank discussions with the region’s countries about the situation in West Asia.

“Japan is in a position where it can openly talk with Iran through its long-standing and traditional friendship with Iran,” he told the Saudi newspaper. 

He also pointed to Japan’s continued interaction with Iran. “I have had six direct conversations with the Iranian foreign minister since I took office,” Motegi noted. 

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