Japan PM Cancels Planned Iran Visit

Japan PM Cancels Planned Iran VisitJapan PM Cancels Planned Iran Visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has given up his plan to visit Iran this summer as the first Japanese leader in 40 years, government sources said Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump has taken an increasingly tough line against Tehran.

The government was making arrangements for Abe to visit Tehran in mid-July and hold talks with President Hassan Rouhani, Japan Today reported.

But the sources said the government told the Iranian side by late June that Abe would not be able to realize the visit. It would have been part of his tour to Europe and the Middle East from July 11.

The decision was made in light of Trump’s push to isolate Iran and choke off its oil exports after he pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May.

The United States has urged Japan and its other allies to stop buying Iranian crude oil entirely by Nov. 4.

But Japan, which has traditionally maintained stable relations with Iran, has told the Trump administration it cannot further reduce or halt Iranian crude imports, citing possible negative impact on the Japanese economy, according to the sources.

Japan has for decades relied on Iran as one of its key sources of oil supply. But crude oil from Iran now only accounts for about 5% of Japan’s total oil imports, according to the ministry of economy, trade and industry.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran said on Tuesday that there had been no plans for an official visit by Abe, while adding that Tehran is always keen to expand relations with Tokyo.

“There had been no discussions about or plans for a trip by Japan’s prime minister to Iran,” Bahram Qasemi told Mehr News Agency, dismissing Japanese media reports about the cancellation of the visit.

Qasemi hailed Iran’s close relations between the Asian economic power and said, “We welcome expansion of ties with Japan as a friend and long-time partner at all levels. However, there had been no official visit on the agenda for the foreseeable future.”


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