Abe’s Visit Could Boost Economic Relations

Abe’s Visit Could Boost Economic Relations Abe’s Visit Could Boost Economic Relations

A senior lawmaker is optimistic that the upcoming trip of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iran will help create opportunities for closer economic and energy cooperation between the two states.

Speaking in an interview with ICANA on Saturday, Deputy Chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mansour Haqiqatpour pointed to the history of friendly relations between Tehran and Tokyo as the reason for his optimism.

"In view of their good industrial relations, one can be upbeat about the development of Japan ties in the economic and energy fields," he said.

Intending to take the initiative to strengthen economic ties, Abe has informed the Iranian government that he wishes to visit the country in late August, the Japanese daily Nikkei reported on Thursday. Business leaders in industries such as trading, auto and energy will likely accompany Abe in the first visit of a Japanese premier to Iran in 38 years.

The trip comes after the implementation of the nuclear deal reached between Iran and major powers last July that went into effect on January 16 to lift international sanctions on Iran in exchange for temporary curbs on its nuclear program.  

The world leaders are now racing to embrace a sanctions-free Iran that is seen as a promising market, since it has the world's largest natural gas reserves, fourth-largest oil reserves and a population of about 78 million.

Japan and Iran signed a bilateral investment pact in February aimed at helping Japanese firms conduct business in the country amid intensifying foreign competition for its market access.

On the prospects of nuclear cooperation between Tehran and the East Asian country, Haqiqatpour said there is no ban on nuclear interaction between Iran and Japan.

"Considering the fact that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (as the nuclear accord is officially called) encourages [countries to provide] technical assistance to the Islamic Republic of Iran [in the field of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes], if the Japanese are ready, nuclear cooperation can start between the two countries," he said.

The JCPOA urges all countries for bilateral or multilateral nuclear cooperation arrangements with Iran, whose terms will be mutually determined by the participating states.