TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi plan to hold talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session next week, diplomatic sources said Thursday, amid an ongoing struggle to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Raisi will visit the United States for the first time since taking office in August last year. The hard-line leader is a target of U.S. sanctions, and several Republican senators had demanded that the U.S. government deny him and his delegation visas to attend the General Assembly.
But the United States is generally obligated under an agreement with the United Nations to facilitate travel to the headquarters district in New York by representatives of U.N. member states, according to a U.S. State Department spokesman.
The spokesman also said last month that the U.S. government takes the obligations under the agreement “very seriously,” noting that visa records are confidential under U.S. law.
The United States and Iran remain at a stalemate over the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, from which U.S. President Joe Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump withdrew his country in 2018.
Under the 2015 accord with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for lifted sanctions. But Tehran has accelerated its nuclear program after the U.S. pullout.
In a phone call with Raisi in February this year, Kishida called for Iran’s early return to compliance with the nuclear accord, saying Tokyo consistently supports the deal.
Japan and Iran have built friendly relations over the years, and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to serve as a mediator at one point between its longtime ally, the United States, and Iran.
Kishida plans to visit New York from Monday. He will deliver an address at the general debate of the U.N. General Assembly, which will start on Tuesday.