TBS reported this morning that with regard to tension between the U.S. and Iran, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ortagus said yesterday that the U.S. “welcomes efforts to ease tension, not only by Japan and our European allies, but also by all other countries,” thus expressing hope regarding Prime Minister Abe’s plan to visit Iran next month to mediate between the two countries. Ortagus said that the U.S. would welcome Japan’s conveying to Iran the U.S. message that it does not want Iran to possess nuclear weapons or give support and economic aid to terrorists around the world.
Meanwhile, Asahi wrote that according to an Iranian government source, Foreign Minister Zarif and other high-ranking Iranian diplomats told senior Omani, Iraqi, and Kuwait officials earlier in the week that President Rouhani would be able to open a channel of communications with the U.S. on the condition that the Trump administration ease sanctions on its petroleum exports. With regard to PM Abe’s intention to visit the Middle Eastern nation to arbitrate between Washington and Tehran, the same source reportedly said: “Dialogue [with the U.S.] cannot be held unless it at least relaxes sanctions, such as extending waivers to allow Japan and other nations to import Iranian oil.” The source reportedly noted that the Iranian government will convey to the Japanese leader that foreign policy moderate President Rouhani needs to have incentives, such as the easing of U.S. sanctions, in order to persuade anti-American elements at home to allow him to open a channel of communications with the Trump administration.
In a related development, other papers took up remarks made by President Rouhani. He reportedly said that the door to dialogue will be opened if the U.S. ends what he termed “unjustifiable sanctions.”