TOKYO (AFP): Iran’s foreign minister visited Japan on Monday for the first time since 2019 to meet his opposite number, officials said, with a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also reportedly on the cards.
The purpose of the rare visit by Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to a G7 member country was not announced, but reports said Japan would press Iran to stop supplying Russia with arms.
Amir-Abdollahian will meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement.
Amir-Abdollahian would also make a courtesy visit to Kishida, private broadcaster TBS reported.
TBS, citing unnamed government sources, said Japan would raise the issue of arms exports to Russia.
Japan and Iran have traditionally kept friendly ties despite key Tokyo ally Washington’s tense relations with Tehran.
Iran used to be a major oil exporter to resource-poor Japan, but volumes dropped sharply in recent years due to US economic sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
Hayashi and Amir-Abdollahian have held telephone talks in the past, most recently in April this year.
In the April talks, Hayashi expressed Japan’s support for the 2015 nuclear accord and urged Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.
Amir-Abdollahian’s visit to current G7 head Japan is the first visit by an Iranian top diplomat since December 2019 and the first under President Ebrahim Raisi.
The 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six major powers — including Russia and China — was aimed at scaling down Iran’s activities in that sector in order to allay fears it was developing atomic weapons.
But the United States pulled out of the deal under former president Donald Trump and efforts to revive it under President Joe Biden have faltered, while Tehran has expanded its nuclear work.