TOKYO — Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Monday urged Iran’s next foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, to ensure the safety of vessels in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
Abdollahian, who is set to succeed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif under the new administration of anti-U.S. hard-liner President Ebrahim Raisi, told Motegi in their meeting in Tehran that his country will spare no efforts for maritime safety, according to the ministry.
Motegi’s request comes after a Japanese-owned tanker operated by an Israeli company was attacked off the coast of Oman in July. The United States and Britain suspect Iran’s involvement in the incident that killed three crew members.
Keeping shipping lanes safe in the region is crucial for Japan, which relies on the Middle East for around 90 percent of its crude oil.
The meeting follows Motegi’s talks with Raisi and Zarif Sunday.
The Japanese minister also called for Iran’s early return to a multilateral nuclear deal, as he did in Sunday’s talks with Iran’s new president. Under the deal, Iran and six major powers agreed to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
Raisi’s administration is calling for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran, which have been strengthened since 2018 when then President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 deal.
Also Monday, Motegi traveled to Doha where he and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation beyond the field of energy and discussed the crisis in Afghanistan following the militant Taliban’s regaining of power in the country.
Motegi then wrapped up his 10-day trip that also took him to Egypt, the West Bank for talks with Palestinian leaders, Israel, Turkey and Iraq.