Iran Sets Conditions for Ensuring Success of Japan’s PM Mediation


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Iran Sets Conditions for Ensuring Success of Japan’s PM Mediation
9 June, 2019

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe greets Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (R) during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 22, 2014. (File Photo: Reuters)

London- Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran's Supreme National Security Council determined the conditions to ensure the success of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's scheduled visit to Tehran next Wednesday to reduce tension between Iran and the United States.

In a note on Saturday, Spokesman for the Supreme National Security Council Keivan Khosravi wrote that the upcoming visit of Abe to Iran will definitely be an important event in consolidating and developing friendly relations between the two countries in various fields.

Abe's trip to Iran will be the first visit by a Japanese prime minister in over 40 years and has become particularly important regarding intensive diplomacy between Iran and the US and tensions in the region.

“An effort to bring the US back to the Iran nuclear deal, compensating Iran for the loses it has sustained following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and removing all transnational sanctions against the Islamic Republic could be a guarantee for the success of the upcoming visit of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Tehran,” stated Khosravi.

Khosravi did not comment on reports that Japan had received positive signals from Tehran over Tokyo's mediation efforts.

A Japanese government spokesman said Thursday that Tokyo would make efforts to be useful, pointing out that Abe is set to meet with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hasan Rouhani.

He went on to say that Japan’s approach towards legal and political norms has been approved by the international community, and has not been hampered by extreme measures.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is likely to arrive in Iran prior to Abe’s visit and will hold meetings with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss Abe's agenda, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.

“The best that Abe can say is to propose to Iran’s Supreme Leader to sit down with the US president without any pre-conditions,” a former Japanese diplomat told Reuters.

A former Japanese diplomat noted that Abe may be taking a risk but "I don’t think so – I don’t think Iran will treat Mr Abe badly. I don’t think Iran will let the prime minister go home empty handed."

Over the past month, Tokyo has been exchanging letters between Tehran and Washington, along with attempts from Switzerland, Oman, and Iraq.

US President Donald Trump welcomed at the end of month Abe's contribution to the Iran issue.

Japan has sent mixed messages about its position on developing relations with Iran. However, Tokyo's position in support of the nuclear deal following US withdrawal has sent messages encouraging Tehran to approach Tokyo in search of mediation.

The Iranian government had expressed its desire to expand the scope of the nuclear agreement to include other countries when the Iranian president put forward the idea of continuing the nuclear agreement without the United States.

Abe expressed his support for Iran's stay in the nuclear deal during consultations with Rouhani at the end of September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Two months before the meeting, the US administration had asked Japan to stop importing Iranian oil, which accounted for 5 percent of Japan's total imports while 90 percent of its imports come from Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi indicated that additional sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States show that Washington’s offer of talks is not genuine.

Washington placed sanctions on Iran’s largest petrochemical holding group on Friday for indirectly supporting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a step it said aimed to dry up revenues to the elite Iranian military force but that analysts called largely symbolic, according to Reuters.

Trump said earlier this month that he would be willing to talk to Iran, and Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said he was willing to sit at the negotiating table without preconditions.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced it was only necessary to wait one week until the claim of President Trump about talks with Iran were proven to be hollow.

“The US policy of maximum pressure is a defeated policy,” Mousavi said in a statement.

In recent weeks, tensions have risen between Iran and the US after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, and Patriot missiles, in a show of force against what US officials call Iranian threats to US troops and interests in the region.

State-owned ISNA news agency reported that Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami noted the presence of US warships in the region on Saturday and said that Iran's enemies are afraid of conflict because of the country’s advanced offensive and defensive power.

“They are afraid of any kind of war or possible conflict with Iran,” he said, also noting that US offers of talks without preconditions are false.

"Iran's enemies, particularly the Great Satan America, and the Zionists, seize every opportunity such as explosions in a few ships in Fujairah, UAE, to level accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he concluded.