May 30, 2019, 4:15 PM
News Code: 83334151
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Abe's visit to Iran: Expansion of ties, settling issues

Tehran, May 29, IRNA – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Tehran can de-escalate Iran-US tension and simultaneously lead to expansion of bilateral relations.

Spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Mousavi, commenting on the visit on Friday, noted that Iran and Japan enjoyed historic friendly relations so exchanging of ideas has always existed between the two countries' officials.

He referred to the interactions between the high-ranking officials of the two countries in international meetings and the recent visit of Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Tokyo as examples of this exchange of views.

He also said that President Hassan Rouhani has invited Prime Minister Abe to visit Iran, and the latter has welcomed it. Abe will visit Iran in a proper time.

Japan's Kyodo News wrote on Saturday that "Abe is considering visiting Iran in June for talks with its leadership."

If the visit takes place, it would be the first visit of a Japanese prime minister to Tehran in the past four decades, since Takeo Fukuda's 1987 trip.

As Tokyo and Tehran have traditionally good ties, Abe hopes to hearten Iran to stay in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

Washington's sanctions on Tehran have put Japan, which is in need of Iranian oil, under pressure too. The US annulled the waivers given to eight countries, including Japan that is a big importer of Iranian oil.

"Japan is a country that abides by the international political framework, i.e. it is highly affected by the US and follows it in political and security fields, Nowzar Shafiee, a university professor," told IRNA.

"Each country has its own problems, for example when there is a crisis in the Persian Gulf region, it can affect Japan's energy security, both because Iran is a big exporter of energy and also any clash in the Persian Gulf will be a regional one and will affect international economy."

He adds that that’s why Japan prefers to play a role in and have positive effect on issues related to energy security and national security.   

Shefiee also said that the visit will be of great importance in de-escalating tension between Iran and the United States, and consequently help expansion of ties between Iran and Japan.

***Tokyo's mediation between Tehran and Washington

He added that the role of each country, as a mediator, depends on its eligibility and credit with the confronting countries; one country can be a strategic power by its domestic achievements, and another one can be a mediator due to its strategic location.

"So, Iraq, Oman, and Japan that can be a mediator between Iran and the US, each has a special position. It depends on how important Japan's mediation is for Iran."

He added that the other point is that how the US looks at the mediation; any country that becomes a mediator should be neutral. If it’s a fan of one side, it cannot be of an appropriate mediator.

The professor referred to Oman's mediation between Iran and the US, and added that Muscat has good relations with both Tehran and Washington and tries to play the role of a mediator, but it doesn’t have much potential for that.

The crisis in the Persian Gulf threatens vital interests of Oman, which can affect the regional countries as well, he said.

He added that though Japan is located far away from the region, tensions in the Persian Gulf can have negative effects on its economy and interests.

The analyst concluded by saying that the larger number of mediators who are trying to prevent crises will mean that such incidents could be avoided.


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