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INTERNATIONAL > U.S.

Iran seeks Japan’s support

  • May 17, 2019
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All national dailies reported on visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif’s meetings with Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kono on Thursday. The papers wrote that Abe urged Zarif to comply with its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal by telling him that Japan is concerned that the situation in the Middle East is becoming increasingly tense. Kono reportedly told his Iranian counterpart that Japan will spare no effort to ease tensions in the region. Asahi speculated that amid the growing tensions with the United States, Iran is expecting Japan to play a role in easing the tensions because Japan maintains traditionally friendly relations with Iran while upholding its strong alliance with the United States. However, Asahi added that when speaking to reporters afterward, Zarif criticized the United States for expanding its oil import ban to Japan and other countries. Yomiuri conjectured that Japan is planning to bring up Iran at the planned summit between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe on May 27 to urge the United States to resolve the Iranian issue through dialogue. The paper wrote that although Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters on Thursday that Japan will contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East by utilizing its friendly relations with Iran, an unnamed senior MOFA official told the paper that it appears difficult to improve the current situation because of the Trump administration’s strong distrust of Iran. Mainichi wrote that although Zarif expressed hope for Prime Minister Abe to “act as an intermediary” between Washington and Tehran, this will be difficult for Japan because the United States has no intention to ease the economic sanctions.

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