Report: Abe to Visit Next Week

Report: Abe to Visit Next Week Report: Abe to Visit Next Week

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is slated to travel to Iran later this month to help encourage dialogue with the United States and ease rising tensions between the two countries.  
The visit is scheduled for June 12 to 14, according a report by the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun citing unnamed government sources.   
He will confer with President Hassan Rouhani on June 12 before meeting Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on June 13, Bloomberg reported by citing Mainichi.  
The visit will be the first by an incumbent Japanese prime minister since 1978.
Abe has proposed serving as an intermediary between the United States and Iran amid mounting strains between the two countries. 
US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year and restored tough sanctions to pressurize Tehran into renegotiating a new agreement that would include other areas of concern, including Iran's missile program and regional activity. 
His pressure campaign included last month’s deployment of warships, bombers and extra troops to the Middle East on the pretext of alleged Iranian threats facing its regional interests, promoting fears of a conflict. 
However, Trump toned down his rhetoric in his recent comments, saying he was not looking for regime change and is open to having a dialogue with Iran. 
"If they'd like to talk, we'd like to talk also," he said during his visit to Japan in late May. 
The US president also backed Abe's interest in using his country's good relations with Iran to help broker a possible dialogue between the two arch-enemies.  
"I know that the prime minister and Japan have a very good relationship with Iran so we'll see what happens," he was quoted as saying by AP. 




Iran has refused to enter into talks with the US, opting to resist the pressure and find ways to save the nuclear deal with the aid of other parties. 
Ayatollah Khamenei has described negotiation with the US as "poison", warning of Washington's intentions to weaken Iran. 
He dismissed any prospect of talks with the White House in his recent remarks, saying the core values of the revolution are not negotiable. 
"Negotiation will be summed up in two words: They mention demands and we say ‘no’ and the session ends," he said. 
Qasem Jasemi, a lawmaker, pointed to Iran's compliance with the terms of the nuclear agreement, calling on Japan to convince the US to return to the deal and fulfill its commitments. 
"Iranian authorities should ask Japan to warn US-allied countries in the region against exacerbating the critical condition," he also told ICANA. 
Japan, the world's third largest crude oil importer, has kept good relations with Iran as it relies heavily on imports from the Middle East. 
Nevertheless, Iran now accounts for about 3% of Japan's purchases, according to Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko, since the US has sanctioned the import of Iranian crude. 

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