Japan FM meets Iran’s National Security Council secretary

August 22, 2021 - 19:18

TEHRAN - Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi held a meeting with top Iranian security official Ali Shamkhani on Sunday during a two-day visit to Iran that included several meetings with other high-ranking Iranian officials. 

The meeting with the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) came on the heels of another meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. 

As of this writing, no details have been released about the issues discussed by Shamkhani and Motegi. But Japanese media outlets have reported that Motegi’s trip could serve as an opportunity for Japan to resume its mediation efforts between Iran and the United States. 

The Japanese foreign minister also met with Iranian President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi. 

Zarif said confirmed that the Japanese foreign minister’s visit had something to do with the tattered Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

Expressing satisfaction at receiving Motegi, Zarif said on Twitter, “In what is probably my last meeting with a counterpart as Iran’s foreign minister, we discussed strengthening bilateral relations, how to resuscitate the JCPOA and the catastrophic US-engineered situation in Afghanistan.”

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.”

Motegi also underlined the importance of his visit to Iran. In an opinion piece for Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, he wrote in Persian, “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.”

“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.

“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 stressed.

The Japanese foreign minister’s visit to Iran is part of a regional tour that also includes Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, and Qatar. The tour started on August 15 and concludes on August 24.

In his August 10 presser, Motegi elaborated on the agenda of his tour, saying that “peace and stability in the Middle East [West Asia] region are extremely important for the international community, including Japan.”

He added, “Through this visit, I would like to emphasize again Japan’s commitment to the Middle East, as we have contributed to the peace and prosperity of the Middle East region and built robust relations with the region over many years. I would also like to confirm the importance of the free and open international order based on the rule of law.”

Pointing to the inauguration of a new government in Iran, Motegi said, “I wish to hold candid discussions on regional affairs and plans to seek for a close collaboration towards regional stability.”

On his visit to Iran, the top Japanese diplomat noted, “Japan has consistently supported the JCPOA. I will call on Iran to return to the JCPOA. I believe that a dialogue between Iran and the United States is extremely important, even if it is indirect consultation. Iran is a major power in the region. I believe that the stability in Iran will truly lead to stability throughout the whole region. The exact same thing can be said for maritime traffic. I wish to convey that we would like to see Iran contribute to regional stability as a major power, and that regional stability will lead to the development of Iran. The new Raisi administration has just been inaugurated, and the Iranian foreign minister has just assumed his position. I believe that my visit will take place at a good time when Iran is trying to come up with various foreign policies.”

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