Shinzo Abe in Iran to alleviate regional tensions: Japanese PM spokesman
Japanes PM Abe shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran

Tehran, June 13, IRNA- The spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says that his country is not seeking to mediate between Iran and the US, avoiding to confirm whether the premier has a message from US President Donald Trump for Iran. 

“As prime minister made it clear during his statement that his objective was to lower the tensions in the region. He is not here to mediate between Iran and the US," Takeshi Osuga told the Iranian and international press late Wednesday at the luxurious Iranian hotel Espinas Palace in northwestern Tehran. 

“We are not disclosing details of conversations between Shinzo Abe and (President) Rouhani about the Japanese prime minister's having a message from Trump for Iran," he told IRNA during the one-hour press briefing that took place some two hours later than the scheduled timing. 

Before embarking on the historic official visit by a sitting Japanese leader that takes place 40 years after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Japanese prime minister, speaking at a joint news conference in Tokyo with Trump in late May, suggested that he wants to make efforts to facilitate discussions between Washington and Tehran “so that things will not go wrong and lead to a military clash” in the Middle East. 

Tokyo’s tangible measures

Osuga, who is also the Japanese foreign ministry press secretary, avoided to clarify what exact initiatives Tokyo has in a bid to lower tensions in the Middle East after the US upped the pressure against Iran over the course of several weeks ago. 

However, he stressed that the mere visit and high-level talks are part of the Japanese government’s practical measures to calm nerves in the region.

“High level contacts itself are good measures that deepen and strengthen the communication and mutual understanding,” he told IRNA during the press briefing. 

"If there were practical measures to solve the situation, it’d be very easy, but they start from such communications," the official added, stressing, "I'm not saying that no practical thing was discussed, but a lot of issues on bilateral relationship as well as on regional situation were talked about which I’m not in a capacity to disclose those sensitive conversations."

“The meeting itself at this high level has practical usefulness to ease the tension," highlighted Osuga.  

Donald Trump withdrew the US from the multilateral international treaty on Iran nuclear programme, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that was reached in 2015 and was later ratified by the United Nations Security Council’s 2231 resolution. 

The White House reintroduced economic sanctions on Iran in two phases; one in August and the other in November last year, targeting Iranian oil and banking sectors.   

According to the Japanese foreign ministry press secretary, Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Rouhani held "frank, positive and useful" talks during their meeting today at the presidential palace earlier Wednesday. However, he stressed that “useful talks don’t necessarily mean that they led to immediate tangible results". 

Shinzo Abe told President Rouhani that peace and security in the Middle East will not only benefit the region, but the whole world. "Iran is a regional power and should play a constructive role against destabilization of the region," Shinzo Abe said during meeting with President Rouhani, according to the Japanese official. 

He also appreciated Rouhani's assurance that “Iran doesn’t seek a war with the US and that it won’t start any conflict in the region". 

“We are seriously concerned about the rise of tensions. There is a risk of accidental clash that should be avoided," said Takeshi Osuga, addressing the press. 

The spokesman for Shinzo Abe stressed that the Japanese prime minister "has heard positive statements from President Rouhani" without further elaboration. 

Supreme Leader’s fatwa on nuclear weapons 

Answering a question from the press about Japanese prime minister's statement on a fatwa by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei about the prohibition of production, use and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Japanese prime minister's spokesman stressed that Tokyo stands with Iran in this regard.
 
“We are the first nation that follows the fatwa of not having nuclear weapons. I can confirm that,” he said. 

“We are the only country in the world that was devastated by the use of nuclear weapons. There is a strong sentiment against the use of nuclear weapons in Japan,” added the official. 

“I wish to express my deep respect to the fact that the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Khamenei) reiterates the fatwa which says nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are against Islam,” the Japanese prime minister had said in his talks with the Iranian president. 

The Japanese official is about to meet the Iranian Supreme Leader on Thursday morning. 

Iranian oil purchase 
The Japanese prime minister's spokesman also did not explicitly respond to IRNA's question whether Japan will continue to load Iranian oil even after the US didn’t renew sanctions waivers. 

“The Iranian President Rouhani wished, in talks with Mr. Abe, that Japan continue buying energy from Iran,” said Japanese premier's spokesman, stressing that it was a “wishful statement” and not a reference to any possible commitment from Japan to purchase Iranian energy. 

Japan was one of the eight countries that were given 180-day waivers to load Iranian crude after the sanctions were put in place in November last year. The US didn’t renew the exemptions in early May.

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