Japan FM Motegi holds talks with Zarif in Tehran

August 22, 2021 - 12:3

TEHRAN – Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi held talks with outgoing Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday morning in Tehran.

The two chief diplomats held talks on bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues.

During his two-day visit to Tehran, the Japanese foreign minister also plans to hold talks with a number of other Iranian officials including President Ebrahim Raisi and Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a former foreign minister who is nominated to succeed Zarif in the new Iranian administration.

Immediately after his meeting with Motegi, Zarif tweeted he is “pleased to host Japanese FM Motegi in Tehran on Sunday.”

Zarif also said he discussed with Motegi how to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as well as the “catastrophic” situation created by the United States in Afghanistan.

“In what is probably my last meeting with a counterpart as Iran’s foreign minister, we discussed strengthening bilateral relations, how to resucitate the JCPOA and the catastrophic US-engineered situation in Afghanistan,” Zarif wrote.

 “Open a new chapter”

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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